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Time to Appreciate

Happy (almost) Spring to everyone! I feel the urge to share today something slightly more pressing, especially as the change of seasons is upon us. This article is going to focus on appreciation. We often overlook the amazing, beautiful things that surround us. We dwell on the weather, the gas prices, and the construction in our neighbourhood. We fail to realize how precious life truly is, how, in the blink of an eye it can all be taken from us. We should spend time each day being thankful, smiling, and celebrating. Appreciating.

Appreciation, n. Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. Appreciation of life, each and every day. This is my newest challenge. I am going to take you on a little exercise in appreciation.

Appreciate the weather. We live in Canada. I know we have long winters, cold, dark and lonely. But we have had these winters every year since well before Canada became Canada. Try to enjoy the beauty, the crispness. Go for a walk, make a snowball, smell the fresh air through your frozen nose hairs. The long cold winter, every year, gives way to new life, to longer days, to shorts and tee-shirts. Knowing this gives us reason to celebrate, to appreciate.

Appreciate your wealth. People in North America always want more. This creates an unnecessary sense of urgency, and one of stress. We all have more than we need. We have closets full of clothing, when most of the world has nothing more than what is on them right now. We have refrigerators full of food, some fresh, some rotting. The remainder of the globe struggles each day to find their next meal. Many go without. We have the capability to purchase, to get loans, to borrow. This is unheard of in most of the world. Take time to appreciate all that you have, and give to those less fortunate. Charity is a wonderful way to celebrate life.

Appreciate your health. Look around you. There are people suffering every day. Embrace your current health status, and improve yourself before it is too late. Why do we spend so much money on car washes and oil changes? Because we are generally proud of our automobiles, and we don’t want our neighbours to think we don’t care about our “stuff.” Why then, are so many people still sedentary? Still smoking? Still eating fast food? The only “stuff” that should matter is the body you were born with. If you have bad habits, reach out and get help. There is only one time to make change, and that is the present. Start exercising! Quit smoking! Start cooking healthy meals! It’s all quite simple. If we want to grow to a ripe old age, and continue appreciating the beauty that surrounds us, we need to make those changes. And make them now. Please.

Appreciate your city. It’s tiring to pick up the local newspaper day after day and see people constantly complain about our local government, our roads, and our dog parks. Take a look around. We have space. We have beautiful rivers and parks. We have clean streets, free of litter, free of tanks, free of chaos. Our little city has pride, we have small businesses that are thriving, and we have safety. We can walk around neighbourhoods and marvel at beautiful homes, warm inside with food on the table. We have a local government that is trying to improve our waterworks, our roads, our connection to the arts. They are spending money, yes, but aren’t we all? You live here. Take time to appreciate Cambridge and its surrounding communities. Use our trails, visit our businesses, and learn our heritage. There is so much to be thankful for, so much beauty, so much tranquility.

Appreciate your relationships. Everyone around you enriches who you are. Take time to get to know your employees, your family, your friends. Appreciate that everyone is different, and focus on what you love about them. People are in our lives for a very short time. Don’t wait until they are gone, or going to get to know them. Tell them you love them and that you appreciate having them in your life. You will be amazed at what comes back to you when you start to truly appreciate people.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negativity that surrounds us. The media creates a sense of panic, of chaos, of urgency and demise. We have the opportunity every day to decide how we are going to play that day out. Choose happiness, and learn to appreciate your surroundings. It will be far more gratifying to close your eyes knowing that you absorbed all of the good from your world today. And it will become contagious, as people start to smile back at you. Listen to the birds chirp and whistle back to them…

Dr. Mark Guker is a local chiropractor and owner of ReAlign Health. For more visit