On being thankful

Happiness is not a matter of good fortune or worldly possessions. It’s a mental attitude. It comes from appreciating what we have, instead of being miserable about what we don’t have. It’s so simple — yet so difficult for the human mind to comprehend.
Bill P. and Lisa D.
Hazelden Publishing

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it seems only appropriate to discuss the importance of reflecting on all the good things we have in life. The Pilgrim Fathers recognized the value of expressing gratitude for life’s gifts and started the tradition of setting aside a special day to give thanks for our blessings. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and not take time to recognize the good that surrounds us.

I’ve seen enough to know that there will always be some suffering in each person’s life. Sometimes, we can’t see beyond the unpleasant things happening to us; it’s difficult to be grateful when problems become overwhelming. But we should remember that what we concentrate on expands. By focusing on the negative, we compound the negative things in our lives. But by shifting our focus to the positive — even if the positive is currently very small — it will multiply.

Psychology professor Robert Emmons said, “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have a tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.” Stress is at the root of the vast majority of our medical problems. Being grateful each and every day is one of the most potent medicines available — and you don’t need a prescription.

It’s unfortunate, but we rarely focus on being appreciative. Here are some simple things you can do each and every day to start living a life of gratefulness.

The first step is to start a gratitude journal. Simply take a moment each day to jot down some positive things in your life. It could be the weather, the flowers, your family and friends, or even the fact that you’re alive. By bringing gratefulness into your conscious awareness, you will reduce your stress levels and enjoy a healthier, happier life.

Take time to write thank you notes to anyone who did something for you. Expressing appreciation is a wonderful way to brighten someone’s day, and it will certainly brighten yours.

Each day, express your gratitude to at least two friends, family members or loved ones. Tell them how thankful you are for all they mean to you. Too often, we take for granted the love and friendship of those closest to us. By stating your gratitude, you will strengthen those emotional bonds.

One last thing you can and should do is share your blessings with others. All major religions teach the universal law of karma: the principle of cause and effect. Or, to put it another way, the more you give, the more you get. So begin to share your blessings. As you give, so shall you receive.

We should be truly thankful every day of the year, and we should express our gratitude each and every day. Make this Thanksgiving Day different: make it the day you start living a life of gratefulness.

For it is in giving that we receive.
St. Francis of Assisi
c.1181 – 1226

Copyright © 2019 John Chancellor


On being thankful — 2 Comments

  1. May I say a heartfelt thank you for, not just this article, but all the other wonderful ones you write. I keep them all to refer to. It must take considerable thought to put them together. I hope you enjoy all the festive season has to offer

  2. Thanks Rosie. I hope you have a very enjoyable holiday season. Thanks for being such a faithful reader.

    It makes it all worthwhile to know that someone benefits.