Giving Thanks – The Personal Side

It happened sometime during my childhood, though I don’t remember exactly when. Our family had been through a particularly trying time and I realized I had begun to be a pessimist. Even as a child I recognized that my negativity was destructive to my emotional health. Moreover, I felt my black cloud caused some people to want to see less of me.

So, one day I woke up and resolved to become a more positive person. Throughout the day I would try to find the positive around me. This took some practice and at first I felt like Pollyanna. However, as I started focusing on the positive aspects of life I realized two main things began to happen: 1) I felt better emotionally and physically, and, 2) it became easier to find the positive in most situations.

Don’t get me wrong, since that time there have been multiple seasons of my life where it has been difficult and at times almost impossible to find the silver lining. Almost everyone experiences dark seasons in this life that we must wade through searching for the light. Moreover, as stated in the practical piece on this issue there are many people who because of various factors CANNOT focus on the positive without the professional help of mental health counselors, doctors, psychiatrists, etc.

Nevertheless, my decision as a child to look for the good in life each day stuck. This past year my focus on the positive has grown into the practice of giving thanks.  Giving thanks, every day, is a way to illuminate the beauty of life. I try to give thanks everyday several times a day for the good things I am honored to witness in this life—a purple sunset, children laughing uncontrollably in the park, my husband taking a moment to listen to what is on my heart.

Just like when I was a child I have found that the more I give thanks, the more natural it becomes and the more I find to be thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal is one of many ways I have found to practice giving thanks.

If you are feeling sad, down or depressed and unable to find or focus on the positive things in life a mental health counselor can help you. A counselor can help you process your feelings and identify and implement ways to feel better. She can also provide support and encouragement if you have recently experienced tragedy and/or loss in your life. If you would like to speak to a mental health counselor please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment. 


Yolanda Brailey