10 Thing for Which to Be Thankful

be thankfulIt is said tobe thankful is its own reward, and while it is always worthwhile to pause and reflect on the many wonderful things we have to be thankful for, this is the time of year when it all comes together in celebration and festivities.

Admittedly, these are also challenging times; however, when all is said and done -  life is good!

In the spirit of gratitude, here are:

10 Things for Which to Be Thanksful

1.To be alive!
Never before in the history of the world have we had so much access to practically everything. Technology has made our lives easier and more efficient freeing us up to pursue more time for improving relationships, leisure, hobbies, interests and contemplation.

2. Love of Family and Friends
Most of us have wonderful family and friends who love us and want the best for us - our parents, siblings, children, friends and community. Sometimes we tend to take them for granted yet, if we were to lose them, we would profoundly suffer their absence in our lives. Love and cherish your family and friends and be thankful for them while they are still with you.

Even if you don't have any family, or have somehow lost contact with friends, there are many wonderful organizations in every community such as The Salvation Army, Big Brothers and Sisters and various charitable organizations that are more than willing to help and be there for you.  Seek them out and enjoy everything they have to offer.

be thankful for pets3. Loving Pets
If you are short on family and friends, and even if you're not, having a loving pet is most gratifying and enjoyable. Pets are loyal, love you unconditionally and are there for you no matter what. Be thankful for your little friends!

4. The Freedoms We Enjoy
We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom to express ourselves, to worship as we choose, and to be who we are or who we want to be. Most of us cannot even imagine what it is like to exist in circumstances where you are told how to live, think, behave, and be. Life would be misery without the freedom of choice, expression, and how we want to live.

5. Land of Opportunity
Not only are we lucky to have freedom, we have opportunity. We have opportunity to improve ourselves, to learn, to develop and to reach for the stars if we so choose. There is nothing we cannot strive for and accomplish if we're willing to do the work; we can create our own legacies.

6. Good Health
We have the best access to healthy foods, exercise equipment and information than ever before. Unfortunately, we don't always make the best choices; however, we have to ability to. There are so many wonderful books, food supplements, exercise gear and systems to help us be the healthiest we can be. If we take the time to be aware of and thankful for these availabilities our lives would be more enriched.

7. Wonder of Technology
How lucky are we to have the Internet, IPods, Smartphones, MP3 players and every other gadget under the sun? If you happen to be a technology geek life is even more exciting in these times! Everything has been made easier, faster and more efficient with the technological advancements in the last few decades. Do we take this progress for granted? I hope not because it adds to the wonder of living in these times.

8. The Magic of Art
Enjoying and appreciating beautiful art is uplifting and inspiring. No matter what style of art is your cup of tea, be grateful for the various artists throughout history who have left their gifts for our enjoyment and pleasure. Today, we are additionally fortunate to have the benefit of graphic and computer art to add to our visual delight.

9. Joy of Music
The same can be said for beautiful music. As William Congreve put it, "Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast". We can be thankful for the myriad of composers who have left us with their soul-enriching music to lift us up when we need it; and with the current technological advancements, we can appreciate it more than ever before. Mozart has never sounded so good!

10. Wonderful World of Sports
How else can we release some of our pent up energies and frustrations in healthy ways other than to enjoy our favorite sports? We are so lucky to have football, baseball, basketball and hockey, not to mention the Olympic Games to watch. In the world of sports we can live vicariously through our favorite champions. They can also motivate us to take better care of our bodies and fitness levels. Thank you wonderful world of sports!

All in all, even though we may periodically experience despair and ennui in this modern world, we still have much to be thankful for. As William Ernest Henley wrote in his moving poem Invictus:

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

The Benefits of Being Thankful

  • In three different experiments Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough (2003) found evidence that being thankful leads to positive psychological, physical, and social outcomes
  • Being thankful automatically lifts your mood and helps release stress and anxiety
  • Thankfulness generates optimism and hope
  • It helps you focus on the good things in your life, rather than what's not going well
  • Makes you feel good about yourself and your life
  • Promotes living in the moment and increases feelings of peace and contentment

With the holiday season approaching there is no better time than now to reflect on the wonderful gifts we are all blessed to have. While life is not perfect, there is so much beauty, joy and living to be thankful for.

Aside: Try to remember to thank those who have helped you or been there for you in any way. It will lift their spirits as well as yours. Everyone benefits from  acknowledgement and positive feedback. 

Related links:
Quotes on Being Thankful
How to Live in The Moment
The Arts and Personal Development
How to Think Positively