“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” ― Harry A. Ironside
This morning I stopped at my local convenience store to grab some dish-washing liquid. I’d just dropped my daughter and her friend at the freshmen campus. It was cold. A layer of snow lingered on the lawn but the roads were clear.
The small store was filled with extra employees busily conducting inventory. I commented about the bustle to the clerk and she said they were hoping for a better return on 2012 than 2011. I sympathized with her and wished her the best of luck.
As I pulled out of the parking lot and entered the neighborhood across the street, my truck let out a squeal then a screech followed by an unsettling vibration. “This can’t be good,” I thought.
I quickly pulled to the curb and popped the hood to look for the cause. First, I checked the oil level to ensure I hadn’t inadvertently run out. Then I tried to find the source of the sound. The whole engine vibrated and screamed like a wounded animal.
I was within a mile of my house, so I decided to limp the truck home. Once there, I parked in the garage and started making mental notes of next steps.
There was a time when this would’ve ruined my whole day. I haven’t always been a big fan of unexpected change. I’d have had a tire-kicking, curse-flying, fist-pounding fit all the way home.
Fill your tank with thanks
Instead, I’m counting my blessings. I’m reviewing what is still good about today.
Some things I’m thankful for:
- Home offices.
- Technology that allows me to work from anywhere.
- A flexible schedule.
- Alternate cars – I still have two other cars working.
- DIY skills – The ability to fix things.
- Mental soundness.
- Good health.
Just to name a few.
Complaints are captivating. They make us prisoners of a pitiful-old-me mentality. Thankfulness is healing and liberating. According to ABC News:
Studies have shown measurable effects on multiple body and brain
systems, said Doraiswamy. Those include mood neurotransmitters
(serotonin, norepinephrine), reproductive hormones (testosterone),
social bonding hormones (oxytocin), cognitive and pleasure related
neurotransmitters (dopamine), inflammatory and immune systems
(cytokines), stress hormones (cortisol), cardiac and EEG rhythms, blood
pressure, and blood sugar.
Are you struggling with borderline depression? Not happy? Do you just need an attitude adjustment? Try this.
How to be thankful
- Relax - Take a screen break. Look out at the world for a minute. Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.
- Stop and smell the roses – Take a minute to be thankful for what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. That warm office, the colleague laughing on the other side of the cubicle wall, that fragrant cup of coffee, your eyesight, your hearing, and so on.
- Get out of your routine – Do something out of the ordinary. Visit a different grocery store, coffee shop or take a different route to work.
- Live with your glass half full, not half empty – Stop seeing your glass as half empty. There is always something to be thankful for.
- Make a thank-filled list – For a week, keep a list of the things that make you thankful. Add to it each day, if you can. Read it out loud, if possible. Research indicates this practice for one week can have health benefits for up to six months!
Now go find someone to share your thanks with. Everyone wants to know they’re appreciated.
- ↑ http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/Emmons_McCullough_2003_JPSP.pdf