The “Happiness Habit” of Being Thankful

November 17, 2016
The “Happiness Habit” of Being Thankful November 17, 2016

by Steve Sartori, MD

I love Fall. It’s a season of beautiful foliage, football, and a time for me reflect and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, again, I plan to take time throughout the Thanksgiving season to thank God for my many blessings. (My wife and I are particularly thankful this year, with the arrival of our first grandchild a few weeks ago!)

Being thankful is always in season, as it is a well-documented characteristic of happy people. Establishing the habit of being thankful facilitates positive emotions, and those emotions help fuel motivation and creativity. The ultimate benefit of thankfulness is the opportunity to develop and enjoy new perspectives. As a life & leadership coach for doctors, I get to regularly challenge myself and my clients to practice what I call “the happiness habit of being thankful.”

How can we be thankful if our current life experience or situation is difficult? Scripture reminds us to be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Here’s a quick-start list of realities I’m aiming to read several times during this Thanksgiving season, just to help me practice the ‘happiness habit of being thankful.’

  1. God loves me.
  2. God is present with me … no matter what kind of fix I’m in, no matter what kind of circumstances or clouds mark my horizon.
  3. God comforts me. (I love David’s words, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
  4. God is sovereign. Why should that make me happy? If God is for me, who can be against me?

God is committed to that ‘molding process’ of making us more like Jesus. In the midst of life’s challenging, stretching, pushing moments … God is at work.

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