Giving Thanks

How to put the “thanks” back in THANKSgiving

Savoring Life’s Joys is one of the 12 Happiness Habits suggested by Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness. Are you DOING that this Thanksgiving? Truly? Have you taken a moment to look at your life and realize just how absolutely amazing you have it?!?! Think about it. Yes. Dare to delve deeper. It’s easy to say “I’m thankful that I have a car.” but what would your life be without that car? Driving to work becomes a bus ride or bumming rides from friends. A trip to the store becomes a completely different experience. Perhaps you don’t own a car and feel that you have the “right” to complain. You don’t need to earn the right to complain. You can complain any time you wish. But what CAN you be grateful for? You can be grateful to the friends that give you the rides. You can appreciate that we have public transportation. Where would you be without it? My mom used to quote, “I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet”. It is EASY to focus on the negatives – those muscles are well developed. But what about the positives? Can you speak a positive without polluting it. For instance,
“I am thankful for my washer and dryer” – positive
“I am thankful for my washer and dryer even though they make a lot of noise – less positive.

You can even find positives in supposedly negative events. I have done this exercise with students in Happiness 101. We filled a 3′ x 6′ white board with positives about World War II and on a different occasion 9-1-1 Even the worst thing that has ever happened to you in your life (yes YOU) likely has some positives that came from it. Perhaps afterward you realized you were stronger than you thought or maybe it gave you a new appreciation for your life.

This holiday I invite you to take just 10 minutes to stop, reflect, think, realize, thank and have a HAPPY Thanksgiving.

~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

P.S. To further beef up your positive muscles, click here

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