One of the exercises we do in my High Performance Coaching program is to start each day by asking five questions that will shape our attitude for the day. One of those questions is “What am I thankful for today?”
Reminding ourselves about our blessings takes our mind off our worries, since it is not possible to feel down on ourselves while we are feeling thankful. Feeling thankful brings a smile to our face and changes our entire attitude as we start the day.
Have you ever tried starting your day by listing five things you are thankful for? If not, stop reading right now and think of five things you are thankful for. How does it feel to be thankful?
We all have moments when we don’t feel our best or we put ourselves down about something. These are the times we must remind ourselves of all the blessing we have in our lives. Our troubles make themselves known and crowd out our good thoughts, but we need to purposely focus on our blessings.
When we ask ourselves questions, we focus our mind on the answer to the question at hand. When we focus our mind on the things we are thankful for, it pushes out the things that are bothering us. These negative things in our lives are given a lot more emphasis, time, and space in our thoughts than they deserve. Many of these negative things will likely never even occur, yet we let them influence how we feel.
We are afraid to go on a bike ride because we are worried that we may crash. Even though it hasn’t even happened and most likely won’t, we fear the possibility of it happening. We don’t make an investment because we fear the loss it might have in the future. We keep replaying a negative comment someone made to us and can’t get it out of our head. We don’t go to the party because we may not fit in or we might embarrass ourselves.
All of the real and imaginary bad things in our life have the power to shape our mood, and we tend to exclude all the great things that are actually real when shaping our mood. Why is the good stuff that is real getting overshadowed by the imaginary bad stuff? It’s time we take control of our thoughts and program in the thoughts that will truly make us happy.
Don’t let worry about the future use up too much of our present. Stop worrying about what might happen and instead start each day by listing five things you are thankful for, because these are the important things in life.
I am thankful for lots of things and when I remind myself of what they are, I feel great joy.
I am thankful for my overall good health.
I am thankful for a wife who takes great care of me.
I am thankful for the ability to play with my grandson.
I am thankful for my financial stability.
I am thankful I have a roof over my head.
I am thankful for a comfortable place to sleep at night.
I am thankful for friends that come over for dinner and singing.
I am thankful for the ability to play the piano.
I am thankful for my extended family coming over for a Thanksgiving feast.
I am thankful I grew up in a loving environment with both parents at home.
I am thankful that God sent Jesus to save my soul.
I am thankful I live in a free country.
I am thankful for clean drinking water.
I am thankful for something productive to do with my life.
I am thankful for children who contribute to the community and visit us.
I am thankful I lived longer than my grandfather.
I am thankful someone took the time to teach me to play the piano.
I am thankful for the ability to practice medicine for 23 years.
I can go on and on about the real things that are blessings in my life, and so can you. Even those of us who are going through hard times have many blessing to be thankful for. These are the things that should be crowding our thoughts.
I once listened to a physician list off all the reasons he hated the electronic medical records system we were using. I could feel the anger radiating from him. During the time he was ranting, he could have finished the patient record he was working on. Instead he took the time to make himself feel awful. I felt sorry for the next patient he would see as I watched his attitude sink into despair and hatred.
He could have just as easily listed for me all the reasons he was thankful for the ability to use his medical education to help his patients. That would have been a far better use of his time, and mine, and we would both have left the room on a high note.
Unfortunately, we only celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year. For one day we think about what we are thankful for. We get together with relatives we might not see much during the rest of the year and have fun together.
Do yourself a favor and don’t let this thankfulness last for only one day. Make it a point to start every day listing five things you are thankful for. I guarantee you will have a brighter morning with positive thoughts on your mind. I’m sure you can list a different five things every day for a month. Try it and see how much better you feel as you start each day and what effect that will have on the rest of the day.
Live this next year with a mind full of thoughts you love and see what happens. Then let me know how it worked. I would love to hear about how it changed your life. That will be one more thing I can put on my thankful list.