Thankfulness . . . the healthiest attitude

Central Park, Burnaby

Central Park, Burnaby

The way you look at your life at this moment can determine your future health and happiness.

How you habitually think has great bearing on your performance at school or work, your physical health, your emotions and your relationships.

If you see yourself as a powerless victim of life, you lose your confidence and sense of control. This leads to anxiety.

If your focus is on what is wrong in your life, you’ll no longer see what is good. This is the perspective of depression.

An attitude more conducive to your wellbeing is gratitude.

Contrary to popular opinion, thankfulness is not a function of what you have or a luxury when life is good. Lasting and authentic happiness doesn’t come when everything is perfect because it never is or when it seems to be, it doesn’t stay that way. In an imperfect world, we can still be happy.

We say that pessimists see the cup as half empty and optimists see it half full. With the perspective of wanting, we see what we don’t have and we get what we expect – more of less and more wanting. Happiness is not in the cards with the half empty attitude.

Pessimists may think that optimists are deluded. The cup is really not half full, and in a sense they may be right. Water is not static just as neither our selves nor anything in life is unchanging.

People come in and out of our lives, love comes in many forms and the gifts we are given are gifts in trust; we hold them for a moment and pass them on. Everything is fleeting, flowing and in flux.

Gratitude allows us to appreciate what we have been given in the past – the good that we have experienced, the way we were loved and the lessons we have learned. It allows us to see and appreciate ourselves, others and our world just as they are at this moment. It can allow us to see and create a positive future, the realization of potential.

When my children were young, I would make up a new story each bedtime. In the tale of the “Daily Fairy”, a child is befriended by a beautiful fairy who has nothing but love to give in her short life which lasts just one day. Rather than grieving her impending loss, the child learns to appreciate the gift of her fairy’s one sparkling day.

We and everyone around us are like the daily fairy – flowers in bloom today.

Take stock of what you have this day. There are seeds and flowers. Be grateful for the flowers you see today and recognize that in your hands are the seeds for the future.

When you turn your problems into goals – reframing the negative into positive, you begin to create a more positive future. You are no longer a victim of chance. You empower yourself. You see golden opportunities and you seize them. You plant seeds for future happiness.

Today, appreciate the flowers that now bloom in your life and give thanks for flowers past. Recognize the seeds in your life, and ask, “What can I do today to create happiness tomorrow?”

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About Davidicus Wong

I am a family physician. I write a weekly newspaper column, Healthwise for the Vancouver Courier, Burnaby Now, Royal City Record and Richmond News.
This entry was posted in Coping with Loss, Emotions, Happiness, Letting Go and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thankfulness . . . the healthiest attitude

  1. Alex Abanico says:

    Dear Dr. Davidicus Wong,

    Recently I’ve been reading a few of your articles and I love your philosophy on life. I like how you take life from different points of view and how you relate it to future emotions and the affects they can have. Anyways, I’m currently a college student attending Florida State University and I’m in the process of writing a research paper on patience and how it varies from person to person. I was wondering if you had any experience or theories why this is.

    Thanks for your time,
    Alex Abanico

    P.S. I noticed you live in the lower mainland! I actually used to live in Richmond myself. Small world.

    • Thanks for reading, Alex. We can be more patient with others if we seek to understand their experiences and life from their perspective. We can even be compassionate in the face of another’s anger when we recognize that it comes from a place of suffering.

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