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Did you know that just by searching for positive things to be grateful for, you are activating your brain to produce more feel-good hormones?  According to research, just the process alone begins to change the brain.

Wow – that’s pretty amazing.

If we can actually feel better by finding those blessings and things to be grateful for, then why aren’t we doing it?

Instead, we hover incessantly over all the things that have gone wrong or are going wrong.

As I read stories of people who have gone through tough times but still found things to be thankful for, I am reminded of all the blessings I have received.

Yes, there have been tragedies; the loss of my husband and a son, both to cancer; the loss of our newly built dream home and retirement pension, and the near loss of a daughter to breast cancer. The list goes on – just as yours does.

We have all suffered unspeakable tragedies in one way or another and people wonder how we will survive, go on, rebuild, find joy again.

As a therapist and former teacher and facilitator and now a life coach, I teach and encourage people to challenge negative thinking and replace it with positive affirmations.

We can approach our problems by focusing on options or we can remain angry at what is happening to us.

We can reframe events and see our circumstances through a different prism of understanding and insight.

When we do, we go beyond all the negatives and see positive elements as well.

Again, as research has indicated, it isn’t events or people that make us angry, anxious, depressed, etc.  It is how we choose to respond to life.

This is not a Pollyanna attitude.  Rather it is choosing to see beyond the immediate; seeking those nuggets of hope and grace and yes, blessings, in the midst of whatever we are facing.

Give it a try

Start a gratitude journal and begin recording the things you are thankful for every day.  It might feel weird at first and you might have to struggle, but after a little while, you will begin to notice these blessings throughout the day.

Purposefully looking for blessings gradually changes the paradigm you are living under. It expands your view – your frame of reference.

You no longer see the telescopic dot of misery, but other aspects of good are brought into your vision. When that happens, you will experience a difference in your mood, your attitude, your thinking, and your life will take on a new color.

We are choosing all the time.

We choose our emotional responses. We choose what we want to focus our attention on.  We can focus on constructive planning and decision making or we can focus on our insecurities and doubts. We can choose to worry or we can choose to put our energy into problem-solving.  We can spend our free time on trivial things or we can build more positive relationships with others. Connecting is so important. We can choose to see our container of life as half empty or as half full and filling up. We can choose to be optimistic instead of pessimistic.

Marlene Anderson


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