Express Gratitude and Attract Happiness this Thanksgiving
According to Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., a leader in Positive Psychology, and author of “Authentic Happiness,” one cause of low life satisfaction and contentment is failure to express gratitude and taking things for granted.
“Gratitude is an appreciation of someone else’s excellent moral character. As an emotion, it is a sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life itself.”
Often in our busy lives we do not take time to acknowledge all the goodness in our lives whether it is the special people we are close to, events we’ve enjoyed, places we have visited, or the simple joy of waking up each morning. Our human nature is programmed to focus on the negative which can be detrimental to us in many ways.
“I attract into my life whatever I give my persistent thought and focus to.”
This is the Law of Attraction, which came into the mainstream with the release of the 2006 movie “The Secret” based on Rhonda Byrne’s book of the same name. I have read much of her more recent book, “The Secret: The Power.” It is a simple but truly powerful concept, hence the updated title and book.
The Law of Attraction is a spiritual law that goes into energy as vibration with magnetic qualities. I’m not going to take it that far in this article but do want to discuss the basic philosophy. Think about it, If you focus on all that is wrong with your life, all your disappointments, set-backs, hurts, etc. it is easy to become depressed and start to think that this is going to be the path of your life. According to the Law of Attraction you will attract more of the same to align with your beliefs, “like attracts like”.
What we think creates our reality. Believe bad things will happen and they do. Fortunately, we choose our thoughts and can change them and therefore we can alter our circumstances. Believe good things will happen and they do. The first step to a better life is developing new thoughts and beliefs. Expressing gratitude and focusing on the good is an excellent way to get started and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to begin.
As you gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving make an effort to slow down, reflect, and be grateful for your time together. In “Authentic Happiness” Dr. Seligman offers two exercises to increase gratitude in your life. I have adapted these for the holiday.
Exercise 1: Write a testimonial to someone who you will be visiting with over Thanksgiving that has had a positive impact on your life who you have never thanked properly. Take your time in composing the letter and create a nice copy to give to this person. At the appropriate time slowly read the testimonial to the person using expression and making eye contact. Enjoy the reaction and following discussion.
Exercise 2: Individually or with your close group make a list of everything you are thankful for that happened in 2013.
If you enjoy this exercise make it a daily or weekly practice. Every night before bed or at the end of the week make a list of what you’d like to remember and appreciate. To find out how much gratefulness you have in your life take the “Gratitude Questionnaire” on the Authentic Happiness web site.
Jessica Kisiel is local wellness professional specializing in injury recovery and pain management through posture alignment. Stay connected and receive free posture exercises for your favorite sport by signing up for her newsletter, http://www.thepfathlete.com/subscribe.