Saturday, October 10, 2009

Being Thankful Lifts Your Mood

When you're feeling depressed and struggling to go from day to day, it's hard to see what there is to be thankful for.
But giving thanks is something that's celebrated the world over - for instance, Harvest Home in England, Thanksgiving in Canada & the US -because our ancestors knew what we seem to be re-discovering - that attitude makes a big difference, and that celebrating the good in our lives lifts our mood.
And when you feel good, you're more likely to attract good into your life, as the Laws of Attraction practitioners will tell you. Attitude is a major factor in how a person feels - feel poor, and you tighten the purse strings to choking point, feel guilty spending pennies, and miss out on opportunities to improve your situation or you fail to invest in yourself so that you can make the most of any opportunity that comes along.
A client who has been very pre-occupied recently claimed that she was finding people very unhelpful. No wonder - she went into the stores with her head down, a frown on her face, so pre-occupied with her own troubles that she didn't notice anyone else. She shuffled about impatiently in line-ups, complained and generally wasn't someone you'd want to deal with if you were a store clerk.
As an experiment, I coached her into going into a large department store, holding her head high, looking purposeful but relaxed. She gave the clerks she met a big smile, asked courteously for help and said thank you and please. To her surprise, she got the best of service, with three clerks helping her locate the articles she wanted, checking the stockroom for supplies and looking up delivery dates.
"I heard a woman in the next aisle say loudly to her companion: "The service here is terrible. There's never anyone around to help." I had three store clerks helping me, and I looked over at her sour expression and I thought, OMG, that was how I'd been behaving! Who would have thought attitude made such a difference! It wasn't just that I got better service, but by smiling and being polite, I felt better about myself," was how this woman reported back.
And that's the clincher, really - having a good attitude makes you feel better about yourself.
So, this weekend we're celebrating the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday. Practice feeling thankful for what you have, rather than dwelling on what you don't have. If you have a roof over your head and enough to eat, for today, you are rich by comparison to many, many people in the world.
Family are coming to dinner? That means more work for you - but it also means you get to spend time with people you love and who love you. More expense? Sure, but isn't it worth it? Take a little time to think about the extras you can do that don't cost a lot - a grapevine wreath for the front door and table decorations made from hedgerow finds or dollar store buys.
If you don't have family visiting, hold a pot luck supper for friends or neighbours. You'd be amazed at how appreciative they'll be, and with everyone contributing, it's an economic way of entertaining - something our parents and grandparents used to do.
A recent report told us what should seem obvious - that people who give to others are happier than those who don't. Think about it - by giving to others you're showing compassion for your fellows, and also celebrating the fact that however little you have, you still have enough to help someone worse off. Of course it makes you feel better!
And here's a challenge: This Thanksgiving, write down five things you are grateful to have in your life. Perhaps you're grateful to be able to enjoy the autumn colour, or to have someone who loves you in your life, or just a chance to sit and read a good book. Maybe you're thankful for the possibilities to come or the joys you've known in the past. Think carefully and you'll be surprised how many things you have to be thankful for in your life.
Write them down on a slip of paper, put that in your wallet or purse and when you feel down, take it out and read it, meditate upon the things you have there. Add anything new that occurs to you. That little list is sure to lift your mood.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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