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Newsletter Dated: 11/3/2007 9:22:16 PM
Subject: Happiness Tips from Tina: Giving Thanks
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Happiness Tip: Giving Thanks
No matter what is going on in the world or in our lives, when November roles around, we all stop and think about Thanksgiving Ė not only the turkey and pumpkin pie, but the real focus of the holiday Ė giving thanks.
A lot of people arenít very good at looking at the positive. I hear a lot of negativity, blaming and complaining daily in my counseling office, and I find the more negative people are, the worse their lives work. Talking about how bad it all is seems to be quite popular. When I can break through this fashionable bad attitude enough to get my clients begin thinking of what can be done to fix the problem (rather than how awful it all is) things soon begin to improve.
Of course parts of life are hard; things don't always go right. We all grieve at loss; we hurt sometimes; we can feel tired and overwhelmed.
But when you make the effort to see the other side, this very same life can also be full of delight and joy. When we look with gratitude, we remember the people we have lost also filled many days with laughter and friendship. Loyal friends rally round and support us when we get hurt, tired or discouraged.
For clients who complain that they're lonely and lost, I point out all the wonderful opportunities they have to connect with others. If you're out of a job, sure that's hard, and sure job hunting takes time -- but it also gives you time to spend with people -- which can be absolutely free, if you arrange it that way. There is no charge for walks on the beach, sitting on the porch at sunset talking, or helping each other with your resumes.
I knew someone who was fond of quoting research that claims depressed, pessimistic people have a more accurate view of reality than optimistic, happy types. What I want to know is whose lives work better: the depressed people who are supposedly more "realistic", or the happy, "unrealistic" ones. This charge of unreality connected to a happy outlook is more of the modern, fashionable "downer" attitude.
We don't get to choose everything that happens to us in life -- but we do have many powerful choices to make, including how we respond to what happens to us. If you constantly see the most negative interpretation (half a glass being half empty, rather than half full), your demeanor will reflect that negativity. If you seem depressed, down or angry most of the time, others will respond to that negatively -- by rejecting or criticizing you. No one can handle being around a person who is down most of the time -- it saps the joy out of life.
The opposite is true when youíre optimistic and grateful for what you have.
It's probably easier to show gratitude when you're not overwhelmed by largesse and opportunity. Itís easyto take it all for granted, when we have so much. But, in my practice and in my own life, I see the result of remembering to stop and be grateful. Counting blessings enhances your life, by increasing your awareness of what you have, what you've accomplished, and the love you experience. It enhances relationships by reminding you to say "thank you" and getting the reward of spouses and friends who feel appreciated, and thus motivated to give/love/share more. Celebration + Appreciation = Motivation.
Here are some easy tips on how to feel more thankful:.
*Take some time each day to be thankful (ideally, to your Higher Power, God, the Angels, The Saints, the Universe, Mother Earth/Nature, or whatever you see as a Supreme Being) for each and every thing that comes your way. Do this silently, for yourself, not ostentatiously, to impress others. If you say a grace before meals, say it silently, and think about how fortunate you are.
*Keep a list for one week about every good thing that comes your way -- a funny e-mail, a phone call, a business success, a loving gesture. At the end of the week, you'll be astounded at how much you receive.
*Saying "Thank You" to your partner allows both of you to feel valued. Gratitude is powerful, and, used properly, a much greater motivator than demanding, criticizing, or nagging. Creative thank you's are the most powerful kind. It's easy to scope out what kind of thank you will be memorable for a particular person, when youíre paying attention. Recognition is a powerful motivating factor, and a little gratitude can go a long way.
*Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, counter it with a feeling of thanks for something that is good in your life. Change your focus from what's wrong to what is right.
*Start counting what you already have that you cherish. Consider beginning a gratitude journal, and noting all the positive things, beloved possessions, and tender moments you experience. Or, start a gratitude jar, and note down on scraps of paper all the positive things, beloved friends, favorite possessions, and tender moments you experience in your own life and store them in the jar. Then whenever you feel another pang, pull out a few papers and read them. You'll find that reminding yourself of all you have to be grateful for will cheer you up and help you remember that your life is a good one.
Looking for the blessings in every day will maximize your awareness of how lucky you are, and increase the luck that comes your way. I think of it the same way I think of receiving a gift. If I receive good things by thinking "It's about time", then who would want to give me more? But, if I receive gifts with gratitude and pleasure, then the giver wants to give me more. I think life works the same way.
May your Thanksgiving be full of good things.
Adapted from: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage (Adams Media) ISBN# 978-1-59869-325-6
© Tina B.Tessina, 2007
If you want more, here are some related articles you can download from my website at http://tinatessina.com/monthly_column.html
Attitude: From Negative to Gratitude
Coping with Critics
Creating Holiday Magic
Getting Out of Your Way
How to Have Happier Holidays!
How to Write a Love Letter
Humor & Hope
Into Every Life
Itís a Dirty Job
Learn to See Through The Eyes of Love
Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends
The Meaning of Life
Mirrors and Teachers
Motivation And How to Create It (Good Boss/Bad Boss)
No Two Miracles Alike
The Power of Politeness
The Power of Purpose
Relating With Love
Turn on Your Charm
Weaving The Web
You Are a Gift
Your Bestest Friend - You
I have a brand new blog! http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
Coming in January! Please watch for my newest book: Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media)
Iíve been interviewed for a British documentary on relationships Ė Iíll post more news here when it comes out.
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Iím a designated Expert for Redbook Love Network
I'll also answer your questions at http://www.tinatessina.com
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I welcome your feedback and support, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you joy,
Tina B. Tessina, PhD
Re: Guidelines for Dating
Want to send a special hug to Tina who is one great cheerleader. Her newsletter is always treasured and I have sent it on to many. She has inspired me to remain optimistic even when discouraged. Things do finally turn around for the better. Thanks Tina for your shining example.
And thanks to you, Stevanne, for illustrating my point in this monthís newsletter.
God, I hope I never need these again!! Marc
Yes, I hope you donít need dating guidelines again, either. Gratitude will help.
Re: Asking for What you Want
I think of you often and wanted to thank you for the email article, "asking for what you want". I believe life is harder when we don't know the questions to ask, or, we don't know what to be aware of. It was a help to me when you said that if we don't know what we want, we can't even
ask for it. That prompted me to think about exactly what I want so I could try to clearly express that want. I even printed it so I could re-read it.
I stumbled upon your site while googling "emotional paralysis." Thank you for all the articles and insights. I am so lucky to find you - you offer advice, support and assistance with the very issues I am struggling with. Thank you so much for making your expertise available. You are a life-saver.
You are most welcome, Ann. Iím so glad to be of help.
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