Choice Relationships: 2009: Choosing to be Grateful
Volume 43 November 2009
My Personal Insights:
As I ended the sessions with my various clients before Thanksgiving, I wanted to wish them each a Happy Thanksgiving. In many cases, it was difficult to do since I knew that they were facing a great deal of struggles in their lives. As I have referred to in the past, there is also some personal situation that is particularly troubling right now due to a serious health issue of an extended family member. So I certainly understand. Yet, there is always something for which to be grateful. At this point, I would like to extend my thankfulness to all of you for your support and continued readership.
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Choose to See the Upside
There are times in life due to certain circumstances that will make it challenging to feel happy or upbeat. Generally, these are not things you can even anticipate. Losses of all types happen: finances, sickness, broken relationships. And when these things occur around the Holidays, they seem to be even more devastating.
As I’ve often stated before, you cannot control when things happen and you also cannot control how others act. However, you do have a choice as to how you react to these matters. No one is suggesting that you do away with your feelings completely; that would be unhealthy. But when you make a choice to not dwell on the negative, you will be making an impact on your health – both physically and psychologically.
- As taught in a class on Positive Psychology, do an exercise to increase gratitude. Each night (it has to be done at night), write down three things for which you are grateful for that day (it must be written to be effective). They should be small things like you didn’t hit traffic. The idea is to find more and more small things to make you happy enabling you to find more and more small things in life that make you happy.
- If something bothers you, ask yourself, “Will this upset me in a month, in a year, in five years?” This query allows you to put things in perspective.
- When something bad happens consider what the lesson in it is. Even bad things offer meaning.
- If there is something tragic that occurs, consider that it happened as a reminder to help you take on a broader awareness of the important things in life.
- Try to laugh more; humor is very helpful for “letting go” and seeing things in a different light.
- Try to see the very same situation from a different perspective (this is called a reframe). When you look at it in a different way, it often isn’t as upsetting.
- Learn to accept others (and yourself) as they are — warts and all. No one is perfect and our diversity is what keeps us interesting and allows us to learn from one another.
- Know that whatever is upsetting will pass.
- When things are bad, one of the best things to do is hold your partner – it gives each other a sense of security.
Additional Resources I Recommend:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
If you haven’t seen this video, you must take a look at it! There are just so many lessons to be learned by watching it.
Click to Watch
And just in case you are having trouble finding things to be grateful, here’s something to help:
Click to Read
Since this is a newsletter about relationships, here’s an interesting article about how, in times of adversity, marriage can help:
Click for Article
Empowering Tools and Information:
As you may or may not know, my childhood background is one of exceptional dysfunction. Yet, I now look back at it with gratefulness. Yes, you read that correctly. Even though there were many tough challenges, I believe that they made me stronger and able to learn and then teach tools to help others.
Do you know that you don’t have to be a prisoner to your past? Rather, you can live a life of joy! Take a look at my award-winning self-help book, Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life to learn the tools that can give you the choice to have the life you deserve.