We’re entering a holiday season that comes with many unrealistic expectations and a long ‘to do’ list. It also brings memories of loss and of the past. These, along with other thoughts, can take the joy out of the season and also from life. It is often overwhelming.
Studies have shown that for better health and increased happiness, be thankful. Gratitude recognizes the good in our lives – family, friends, work, health, food or a roof over our heads. Some of these may be missing but searching for areas of gratefulness and fully appreciating even the smallest area of good in life can lift spirits.
One step to achieving this positive state means realizing the source of people’s happiness lies, at least partially, beyond themselves. With that realization, a connection begins with other people, a higher power, or even nature. Psychology research has revealed that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” When grateful, a person is more likely to reach out and touch others who are still struggling with thankfulness.
How to increase gratefulness
In general, change focus.
The past: think of positive memories, perhaps of some childhood time or a time of good fortune.
The present: Notice when good things happen and appreciate them: a kind word, a beautiful sunset, a new or old friendship.
The future: Change from pessimism to optimism in almost all occasions.
Overall, appreciate where you are in life right now and who you are. Mr. Rogers said, “I like you just the way you are.” We can apply that to ourselves as well as others. That doesn’t mean you have to stay there, but it helps to refocus and like yourself in whatever situation. Gratitude comes with acknowledging what you have, not what you don’t have. Again as Mr. Rogers said, “I believe it’s a fact of life that what we have is less important than what we make out of what we have.” Stephen Covey in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” wrote of a scarcity mindset versus an abundant mindset, “It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody.”
We are thankful for you who are reading this, for our clients, for our family and friends. We are thankful for the opportunity to help people who are victims of others’ misdeeds.
We wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving 2019 from all of us!