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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks is Not Just for Thanksgiving

Gratitude is on the menu this week. Really, though, giving thanks is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. It's become common knowledge that expressing gratitude for what's good in your life is more than smarmy Pollyanna-ism. It's a skill that promotes happiness and well-being, and these states contribute greatly to feeling successful. Indeed, the idea is now so prevalent among positive psychologists, happiness gurus, and abundance theorists that I don't even need to footnote this sentence. Or the previous one.

How does practicing gratitude make you happier and more successful? Well, readers, since it transpires that happiness is a learned skillset that relies on developing a positive attitude, it makes sense that when you want to create a sense of wealth and abundance in your life, you turn outward and notice things for which you are grateful. Once you do, it’s like noticing one lime green car. Once you see one, you can’t stop seeing lime green cars. Even if you never noticed them before, now they’re much more prevalent than you thought.

With all the above in mind, I am thankful for the following nouns:

  • Heat, water, and electricity.
  • The Norton Anthology of Poetry—for providing my children with many choice vocabulary words, profane and unexpected.
  • The hours between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.—for providing me with a special alert time to meet myself and discuss my most intractable problems.
  • The avatar of the twenty-five-year-old with a swinging blonde ponytail and enviable abs on the personal coach program of the Star Trac treadmill at the YMCA--she makes me work harder than I would on my own.
  • My late father-in-law—for wearing a tux with just the right amount of careless disarray.
  • Maple syrup.

Happy Thanksgiving.