How to be more thankful

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It’s easy to become discontented. A bad day at work, a sour relationship, or even a misdirected word can lead to feelings of dejection and defeat. You might wonder, “Why am I here? What do I have to be grateful for? Why does everyone have more than I do?”

But the truth is that most of us have a great deal to feel thankful for. With busy schedules or self-gratification preoccupation, though, we sometimes lose sight of everyday blessings. In case you haven’t noticed lately, here are some areas in your life to review for possible sources of thankfulness:

  1. Appreciate your health. No matter what your physical or mental condition, things almost certainly could be worse. Many quadriplegics cultivate a sense of appreciation for the movement they enjoy in their faces and neck if not in their torso and limbs. Whatever your physical limitations or ailments, enjoy the parts that still work well. Savor everyday perceptions through any of the five senses that still operate effectively: taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. The smell of a friend’s perfume, the sight of a field daisy, the crunch of an autumn leaf, the touch of a snowflake, and the taste of fresh-baked bread can bring a smile to anyone’s face so enjoy these pleasures while you can. If you struggle with mental or emotional issues, seek professional guidance and tell yourself to bend when you should and persist when you can.
  2. Enjoy family and friends. Even if you have issues with parents or siblings, remember the scattered pleasures of childhood and the debt of gratitude you owe your parents for bringing you into the world. Put tensions aside and make a phone call to apologize or offer a few words of affection. You never know if today will be the last for someone you care about. Send an email or a note to the friends who spend time with you or help out when needed. They will appreciate your thanks when it is not required for a specific good deed.
  3. Value material benefits. A roof over your head (even if it isn’t yours), food to eat, and a place to sleep are worth a million dollars when you think of all the homeless and hungry people in the world. If you drive a car, be glad it runs and you can afford gas as well as maintenance. If you take public transportation, tell the driver “thanks” when you get off; you’ll make his or her day and feel better yourself. Savor the feel of clean clothes, a comfortable room, and any entertainment options like books, a walking path, television, computer, music, art supplies, and others that provide a fun break from everyday life.
  4. Be grateful for monetary opportunities. Those with steady incomes ought to appreciate them. Others who are accepting government aid temporarily or permanently should be happy that this means of support is available. Take comfort in the fact that you can pay your bills or that someone else pays them for you. People who earn enough to give money to other people or organizations get a double bonus of having plenty for themselves and reaping the joy of helping others.
  5. Give praise to God. Unless you are an atheist, be willing to entertain the possibility of an omniscient Being who planned out the universe and placed you here for this moment of time. Study the earth in all its fullness and beauty. Reach out to those who have less than you do. Stop seeing yourself as a victim. God knows your needs before you ask, but petition Him anyway to demonstrate trust in His providence. He got you this far, and He won’t let you go now.

Don’t forget to be thankful for life’s simple joys. You never know when things will get better or worse. Either way, appreciate what you have now.

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