How to Make Your Thankfulness a Get-ahead Advantage

When I was little, I heard my grandparents say that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I don’t know how true that was or is.

But I do know that a heart filled with thankfulness … or an attitude of gratitude … ups the serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin in your brain. In simple terms, you feel better, your motivation goes up, and any apathy or depression you might have goes down when you’re thankful. Research has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt!!

So in this season of Thanksgiving, let me suggest a few ways you can reinforce and reinvigorate your thankfulness. And I even have two gifts for you later in today’s Tuesday Tip

► 1. Practice saying “thank you” out loud.

Whether you know it or not, whether you do it consciously or unconsciously, you feed your mind on a continual basis. And what you feed your mind, you will begin to resemble. If you feed your mind a steady stream of worries, you’ll start to look like a “worry wart.”

If, on the other hand, you feed your mind a steady stream of gratitude, you’ll start to look like “a picture of contentment.”

So start taking more walks and as you do, talk to yourself. Say “Thank you” a thousand times. That’s right, a thousand times. Just say the words, out loud or in your head, over and over again. Your mind will wander occasionally and some of your worries may pop back into your head, but just say, “Stop,” and go back to saying, “Thank you.” Do this once in a while and you’ll be amazed at the peace that washes over you. And you’ll be delighted by how much less worrying you will do in the future.

► 2. Be thankful that something good is always happening in your life.

This very moment, in fact every single moment of your life, something good is happening in your life. All you have to do is look for it. You may have a new friendship in the process of forming. You may be getting some new ideas on how to sell your product in the marketplace. Or maybe a weakness in your plan is being revealed. They are all good things.

Take Lois Wendell, for example. When she discovered she had cancer some years ago, she immediately called her boss — partly to keep him informed but also to get some of his positive support.

Her boss Robert said he would come right over. But once he was there, he sat in his car in front of her house trying to think of something to say. He wondered what he could say to a team member who wasn’t expected to live very long. What could he say that would be positive and helpful?

Several years later, Lois told her boss that his comments made all the difference in the world. His calm, positive comments made her feel that she would be okay.

Robert said he was glad that he had been helpful, but in all honesty, he said he wasn’t quite sure what he said. Lois reminded him. He helped her focus on the positive. He helped her develop an attitude of gratitude.

Together they made a list of the things she was thankful for. She was thankful for living in a country where the finest medical help was available. She was thankful for the fact that great advances were being made in the treatment of cancer. And she was thankful for all the support she got from her friends and family members.

Robert added the clincher. He said, “We’re thankful for this beautiful gift of faith that Lois has. She doesn’t know what the future holds, but she knows Who holds the future.”

In other words, he was able to help Lois see that there’s always something good happening in your life … even in the tough times. You just have to look for it so you can be thankful for it.

What are the good things happening in your life right now? Express your thankfulness for those things.

Above, I said I had two Thanksgiving gifts for you today. The first one is a wonderful downloadable whitepaper I put together on how you can hone your attitude of gratitude. Please accept it with my compliments.

► 3. Show more public thankfulness.

When your coworkers succeed, make sure they get the credit. Toot their horn. Let others know how they were involved and what they did to contribute to a project’s success. And express your thankfulness for what they did.

You can even do this on the home front and there’s no better time to start than now, Thanksgiving week. Jill Weston of the Mayo Clinic learned this at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary. She writes, “There was once such negativity and ungratefulness in my home that I knew I had to do something different or else die trying. I decided to start a gratitude journal with my children. Each night I asked each one of my kids to spend two minutes with me and fill out a piece of paper that had a few questions on it. I asked them to list at least one thing they were good at … or liked doing … or one thing they did to help someone else that day … and then list one thing they were grateful for. It was amazing what happened.”

“After a few weeks,” Jill continued, “self-esteem skyrocketed because my children were seeing and affirming the goodness that each one of them possessed. The contention in the home lessened and we all felt more thankful for the blessings in our lives which brought more peace and happiness to our home and our lives. I also asked them to pick a family member and jot down one good thing about that person.”

“Most of my children found it hard … at first … to even admit their siblings possessed such goodness, but each one of my children has asked me to revisit those answers at some point and tell them the good things their brothers and sisters said about them. They loved it, even though they didn’t want to participate at first.”