English: Thanksgiving chapel interior

English: Thanksgiving chapel interior (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As my recent Visualize Your Life group came to an end we closed with a gratitude ritual. Each person took cards and wrote for each of the others a message of thanks.  Then we went around to each person, read aloud what we’d written to them, and gave them the cards. It made us all  feel great to give and receive these honest messages of gratitude.

We’re reminded by Thanksgiving that we should be grateful for all that is positive in our lives. Sometimes I need this reminder. Just ask my family!  That’s probably true for most of us.

Negative feelings, inner conflicts or disagreements with others are a normal and necessary  part of life. They can contribute to learning and growth.  In fact a total absence of negative feeling may be harmful to overall functioning. In general we’re doing well when we experience about 3 positive emotions for every negative one.  People are generally more creative, productive, accurate and successful when they’re happy. 

Well-being, happiness and other positive emotions can help reduce the stress and difficulty we experience in life and allow us to prepare for and cope  successfully in times when things aren’t going well. We cab increase well-being  and positive emotion by tuning into the positives in our lives. We can do this all year round, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  I’ve started keeping a gratitude journal, an idea found in Martin Seligman’s Flourish. All it takes is writing down three things every day that I’m grateful for. That trains me to notice the positive things in my life.

Shawn Achor’s Tedx talk is a fun watch with good information about positive psychology. He offers a number ways to build happiness and well-being. Enjoy. And have a happy Thanksgiving!

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