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November 20, 2012

Gratitude during Thanksgiving and all the Year Through

IStock_0grounded womanll(2)This Thanksgiving is reminding me more than ever about, the importance of gratitude. In view of, countries at war, families in economic strife, the increase in sex-addiction in most of the therapeutic offices of my colleagues and the upheaval and damage that Hurricane Sandy has caused the Northeast, countless people are suffering. These struggles are a reminder for me that I personally have a lot to be thankful for. 

Many of us can easily get lost in the everyday angst of minor problems, daily stresses and overwhelm. We can get stuck focusing on all the things that aren’t going well, could be going better or that are stressing us out. The problem though with focusing on all the negative things is that they can then begin to weigh us down. The more we complain, the more we seem to have to complain about. The more we focus on the negative, the less positive appears to be showing up in our lives. And the more we are certain that nothing goes right, the less things go right. It’s almost like karma.


But here’s the thing, the opposite is also true: the more we focus on the positive, the lighter we feel and the more positive appears in our lives. In fact, research shows that being thankful and practicing gratitude can actually improve our life. In an on-line article in The New York Times, (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html) the author, John Tierney, reports that, “Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others.” He goes on to report that a study conducted by Nathan DeWall, found that gratitude also helps people become less aggressive. Apparently practicing gratitude increases your empathy…which is why you’re likely to be less aggressive. How cool is that? Hmmm, practice a little gratitude and then BANG—you truly have something to be thankful for . What a great, simple practice for everyone to incorporate.

So for the sake of increasing the joy and satisfaction in my life (and yours ), let’s start practicing gratitude. Below is my list of the top 10 things I am grateful for:
1.    My family: I have an awesome husband who totally has my back and two wonderful teens who make me laugh and bring tremendous joy into my life.
2.    My health: I am so incredibly thankful to be physically healthy and able to see, hear, walk, run, eat etc. What a gift!
3.    My home: We only lost our power for a day and a half after Hurricane Sandy; others lost their homes. I am so fortunate to have a roof over my head, running water and warm heat.
4.    Friends: I have awesome friends who know my faults and love me anyway . Thank you all, for all you do for me!
5.    My extended family and family of origin: My mother, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephew, etc., are alive, supportive and bring a lot of laughs to my life.
6.    My husband’s family: Many of our holidays are spent with them being generous hosts, loving grandparents/aunt and interesting conversationalists.
7.    Sunsets: I love the beauty of an amazing sunset that lights the sky with the sun’s rays and warmth.
8.    Water: I’m so thankful for the beauty and calm of lakes, oceans and rivers across our world. (Waterside home in my future? Hmmm )
9.    The internet: I’m thankful for having a place to share my voice, guide others to share theirs and a place to provide a different perspective about how to be in this world.
10.    You: I am so thankful to you, my readers, followers, friends and inspiration. You all ROCK!

Oh Yeah…one more
11.    TEDMED: I am truly thankful for being asked to be on the Impact of Stress TEDMED Greatest Challenges Project. We will start posting our answers in mid-December so don’t forget to check it out! You can meet my panel of experts (including me here: http://www.tedmed.com/greatchallenges/challenge/302?ref=the-team)

May this Thanksgiving be one for which you are truly thankful. May you feel the love of your family and friends, the peacefulness of an inner acceptance, the beauty of nature and the joy of laughter.

Challenge:  For this challenge, I want to see your list of 10 gratitudes. Write them down, send them in and share them with loved ones. Commit to adding gratitude into your week. Keep a gratitude journal throughout the year, as well, and twice a week write down a list of five things that you are thankful for. Pay attention to any changes you notice as a result.

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Nice posting and thanks for sharing this informaiton

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