With frigid temperatures and a sharp wind that stings when it touches exposed skin, it may have us wondering why we live in northern Minnesota.

The meteorologist tells us to brace ourselves as the cold front is here for some time.

“What do you mean it is going to be here for some time?” you think with a fleeting moment of despair.

The extreme temperatures seem like reason enough to have negative thoughts about our beloved home state. Yet, I read an article that said we have to train our brains to think good thoughts. Our brain sees from a negative perspective and is continually scanning for problems to solve, according to “Positive Instead of Negative” by Loretta Breuning.

One way to combat that is to take time throughout the day to focus on five positive aspects. Here are five I outlined for living in Minnesota:

1) Beautiful scenery featuring frosted branches and sparkling snow.

2) Snuggling with loved ones.

3) Movie nights with friends.

4) Winter activities: skiing, sledding, snow shoeing.

5) Having to slow down and appreciate the moment.

For years, a friend of mine has messaged me to ask me to name five good elements of my day. This has been a good practice that has made a difference for me. Every day, I try to focus on the blessings – I am appreciative for all of them. Taking the time to think about them helps bring the good in the forefront.

This time of the year, with many without shelter and way to stay warm, I think about how fortunate I am to have a warm house, reliable transportation, layers to dress in, blankets to keep me warm and winter gear. I also am appreciative for those who work outside including those in emergency services that keep us all safe.

I reached out to friends on the coldest day this season and asked for five good things about Minnesota winter. Here are some responses:

• No bugs.

• You can always put on more clothes.

• The air is clear.

• Snow covers dog pooh.

• Vehicles stay clean when it’s cold.

• The scenery. The snow is pretty on the trees.

• Ice fishing, ice skating, snowshoeing, skiing, snow angels, snowmobiling, hockey, ice climbing, high school ski racing, winter camping, ice bocce ball, pond hockey.

• Making snow angels and building a snowman

• A homemade scarf.

• A special comfort food recipe.

• Hot cocoa with mini colored marshmallows.

• The special understanding that Minnesotans have a relationship to each other and the weather.

• It’s so cold that we have a good excuse to go somewhere warm for a week or so.

• Makes you appreciate the other seasons that much more.

• Snuggling with significant other, a good book and a blanket.

• To stay warm, coffee is always better on cold days (Carolans creamer on the weekends as an added bonus).

• Life is super busy in the summer trying to squeeze everything in – winter is the time to slow down and relax a little.

• Football’s biggest day – Super Bowl Sunday.

• Snow Days!

• You don’t have to even try and do your hair when it’s super cold. Hat hair is fine – everyone has it.

• The silence of the BWCA.

• The walleye are bigger in the winter.

• Using outside as a fridge and freezer.

• It ends!

• Red cheeks on the kids after building snow forts.

• The dogs chasing the snowballs into the fluffy snow.

• A small house with a large family.

• Stars, northern lights.

• When it’s 30 below and you go out at night the acoustics are so difference. It’s such a beautiful unique thing.

• Learning to make a snow shelter and sleeping in it – it stays above freezing in there.

• Blizzards that shut everything down. You go outside and work with your neighbors to help the other neighbors. It’s a very unique human moment.

• Going up to the summer cabin in the winter and having to learn how to dress and work in the cold and heat with the wood stove. Connects me somewhat to how my parents lived every day.

• Ice sculptures.

• Sweatshirts all winter long.

• Better than 100 degrees, hot weather.

• Relatives from warm states coming to experience winter activities for the first time.

• Grandchildren helping grandparents shovel.

• Jumping in the snow after a sauna.

• Unique ice formations.

• Clean, fresh air.

There are days that elements can get us down and understandably so. Yet, these responses from friends are a good reminder that no matter how cold it is, Minnesotans have warmth in their hearts that they love to share.

Melissa can be reached at melissacox2009@yahoo.com.

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