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Positive and Thankful Thinking

The theme for today is Thanksgiving.  If I started to list all of the things I am thankful for, you might possibly witness me turn into a puddle of tears.  I don’t think anyone wants that, so we won’t go there.

I’m sure you know someone who is just complaining about life every time you talk with them.  You also know someone who is going through a very tough time right now, and yet they are upbeat and joyful.  Have you ever wondered how that person manages to be thankful through their tears.

Have you seen the movie City Slickers, where Jack Palance is explaining to Billy Crystal about the “one thing?”  The one thing that makes you get up in the morning, the one thing you are most thankful for.  How about the movie Captain Hook, when Julia Roberts is trying to teach Robin Williams how to fly.  She tells him to “think happy thoughts.”  It takes him a while, but he finally thinks of the birth of his first child, and up he goes.  That one thing, or happy thought, will be different for each of us.

For me, it was coming to the realization that some things are just out of my control.  Oh, I was a control freak – big time.  My in-laws still tease me about the schedules I kept and how I documented everything my baby did, so as to detect a pattern to be able to create a schedule for him. Thankfully, I have matured and mellowed.  I’ve also learned that worrying about something doesn’t do anybody any good.

When my son was deployed, on a remote Combat Out Post in Afghanistan, I had interactions with many other people who worried the entire year their soldier was deployed.  Did I have my moments?  Of course I did.  Then I had to ask myself – “Is there anything I can do to prevent my son from harm?”  Other than pray, the answer was no.  Did it help him for me to be all stressed out about it?  Again, the answer was no.  So I didn’t stress about it, most days.  I had one woman ask me, “How do you stay so positive?”  My answer was “Practice.”

Studies show that a positive attitude can do wonders.  Have you heard someone say they have an “attitude of gratitude?”  Basically, that is someone who realizes they should be thankful for the very breath they breathe, and they understand that it can be gone at a moment’s notice.  They have made the decision to be thankful for everything that comes their way, good or bad.  The question remains, how do they do that?

There certainly is the comparison idea. I remember writing a blog one day about the difficulty I was having push mowing my yard.  Then I did a reality check and acknowledged that, while it was a rough day that day, I was indeed thankful to have a yard to mow.

You could recall some positive, upbeat, and encouraging quotes. “This too shall pass” is always one that come to my mind.

Your peers can make a difference.  Studies show that who you hang out with can influence your behavior.  If you are constantly around someone who is pessimistic it can rub off on you.  Try to find some friends who are optimistic and see how that can change your outlook on life.

The things I’ve already mentioned can help too.  Find the one thing that brings you the greatest joy, think happy thoughts, and practice being positive.

Take some time this Thanksgiving weekend, to really think about all the things you have to be thankful for.

 

*This blog written by Pam Horton, a life coach in the Greater Raleigh area.

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