Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful Beyond Thanksgiving

by Carmin Iadonisi, N.D, E.P.
Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences

It is Thanksgiving morning and the turkey is stuffed and in the oven, the pies have been made and the smell of homemade cranberry orange bread is wafting through our home. To top it off, we woke up early enough to see the sun rise.  I could not be happier at this moment.  On this day, where many will spend it with their loved ones, I want to elaborate a little more on the power of gratefulness.

Recent research on the psychology of happiness has found that 50% of our happiness is due to genetics, while 40% of our happiness is determined by the way we think.  Surprisingly, only 10% of our happiness is linked to  life circumstances such as socioeconomic status, jobs, living circumstances or our appearance.   Does this surprise you?

Initially it surprised me, but then I thought about all the people I have met, the students, patients, coworkers, friends and family.  I have seen students get "A's" on exams and barely muster a smile, while other students will celebrate triumphantly barely passing an exam with a "C-".   We live in a society, where many believe that money buys happiness, yet glance at any tabloid and see another story of some celebrity's life going down in flames. I once lived in one of the most affluent cities in New England and what I will remember most about this place was that it had some of the most miserable people I have ever met.  

So how do we change our brains?  How do we affect that that 40% that we can change? It all starts with being grateful.  Take a moment today and everyday to be grateful for what you have.  Create a journal and everyday write 5 different things you are grateful for.  Research has found that just spending time every day focusing on things that make you happy can actually change your brain in as little as two weeks. A happier brain is truly something to be thankful for. : ) .

Five things I am grateful for at this moment:

I am fortunate to enough to be a teacher and share my knowledge everyday.
I am grateful to have this special day to spend with those I love.
I am grateful that I am always open to learning new experiences.
I am grateful for my two dogs that lie at my feet.
I am grateful that I love to eat and this is a good day to eat! 


christopher said...

Sounds like something I will try daily.

1) Grateful to have a mother that supports all I do.
2) To met a woman who truly loves me
3) That I will be graduating in 3 weeks
4) That I have close friends I trust
5) Thankful for having good health

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