In The Middle of Struggles, Turmoil, and Difficulties, Pause to Celebrate the Positive
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
The United States and a few other countries will celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Canada and some other nations do so in October.
Regardless of when you celebrate Thanksgiving—or even if it’s not a holiday where you live—take a moment to remember and give thanks for the positive elements in your life.
With all that’s happened in the past couple years it’s easy to focus on the negative, which can pull us down with discouragement and overwhelm us with despair. Yet there are positive things happening as well. We just need to acknowledge them and embrace them.
Here are some things to be thankful for.
Be Thankful for Health
I take my health for granted—until I get sick. Then I’m reminded to appreciate the rest of the time when I am healthy, which is most every day.
Even though few people have zero health concerns, with our health status existing on a continuum, let’s be thankful for the positive aspects and not wallow in the negative.
Be Thankful for Work
I doubt any job is 100 percent perfect, but having a job in the first place—when many don’t—is a huge reason to be thankful. Our jobs allow us to earn a living to support ourselves and our family.
Without them we would have to rely on the generosity of others or the support of government. The next time when your work hasn’t gone so well—and it will happen—wrap up the day by giving thanks that you have a job.
Be Thankful for Family
In the past two years, I‘ve spent more time with family then in the past and have appreciated them more fully. Though we can choose our friends, we can’t choose our family. They’re ours for life.
May we celebrate each familial relationship for the good parts of it and be able to overlook the rest.
Be Thankful for Friends
True friendships don’t occur easily for most people. We have acquaintances, coworkers, and neighbors, but that doesn’t necessarily make them friends. But celebrate the friendships we do have for how they enhance our life. We should never take them for granted.
And if you’re a bit short in the friend department, remember that to find a friend, you need to first be a friend.
Be Thankful for Opportunity
If you find it difficult to be thankful in one of the above areas—health, work, family, or friends—because you don’t see it as part of your life or are experiencing a shortfall, be encouraged. This is because the future provides an opportunity to change your present situation.
Starting today you can work to improve your health, make your job more meaningful or find a different one, embrace your family, and grow your friendships. But to make the most of this opportunity, you must first seize it. And that opportunity is another thing to be thankful for.