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  • Robert J. Dixon

Gratitude can be part of Thanksgiving

Resilience is an important component to our lives when we deal with challenges. For most of us, if there is one wrong/bad statement or interaction out of 10, we tend to focus on the negative factor. We replay it in our heads. Sometimes it keeps us up at night thinking of alternative actions to correct the situation. At times we may want to just say "stop it!" Unfortunately, with nothing to replace it with, the thoughts just linger. For example, if I say, "don't think of an orange." The first thing you do is think of an orange. The louder you say it the more you think of the color, the fruit, the juice... Rather if we say, "think of an apple" it is easy for the mind to shift to the new topic.

Gratitude builds resilience and our ability to withstand the 1 out of 10 negative thoughts. Rather than focus on the negative one, focus on the positive. Not for a fleeting moment, but bask in the gratitude of each of the nine items. Really think about the impact each one of them had in your life, your interactions, your accomplishments. Not only will you start to feel better, but when the next negative comment comes along, you will have a little more resistance or resilience.

It is important to practice this skill regularly as that creates the power of this practice. Some people have developed a daily time to reflect, some have developed the habit of writing and focusing on the positives, and some have found that it is powerful to talk through their points of gratitude. Sometimes it is important to even go outside of ourselves and identify and tell the people in our lives what are some of the characteristics and actions that we are grateful for. The regular practice of developing an attitude of gratitude is important to engrain this habit in your life.

November is the month for Thanksgiving. It is a natural time to think of positive influences in our lives and be thankful. While we can bow our heads in silent appreciation, being grateful is the stronger of the two because it requires some action and outward step. It is putting the feelings into words or actions and taking steps to reinforce the positive aspects of our lives. Start today and carve out a few minutes of time in a busy schedule to focus on developing a regular time to build an attitude of gratitude.

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