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Being Thankful

Celebrating Thanksgiving Day here in Canada inspired me to write this article. Too often, we focus on the negatives - the obstacles or problems in our way - and fail to appreciate and be thankful for everything else. I find this to be especially true at work, where part of my responsibility is to investigate and resolve problems that occur, and to anticipate and prevent such problems from happening altogether. My mental focus is naturally on these problems, which tends to blind me to the many things that are going smoothly.

Thanksgiving Day provides a reminder to look beyond our problems. In essence, this holiday is about positive thinking. Negative emotions such as anxiety, fear, or anger suppress the ability to be thankful. In order to be appreciative about a situation, we must eliminate these emotions and adopt a more positive mindset. Becoming more optimistic can actually improve our mental and physical health by reducing our level of stress and by helping us recover better from setbacks. To learn more about this topic, check out Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman. This book presents extensive research results about the surprisingly strong link between optimism and success in terms of health, work, and family.

One way to develop a positive mindset is to focus on what we can be thankful for. I encourage you to spend a few minutes each day writing down things you are or should be thankful for. Here is a short list for myself as it pertains to my work as a software developer and consultant.

  • I am thankful for the users of the software I work on. They are the reason the software exists. I appreciate their questions and feedback, as it shows that they are using the software and care about how it works.
  • I am thankful for my clients. They are the source of my income. I appreciate the work they request of me, as it shows that they value my judgment and service. I appreciate the complexities they impose, as it keeps me challenged and forces me to grow.
  • I am thankful for my coworkers. Together as a team, we can accomplish things that no one person could do.
  • I am thankful for my managers, who help provide a healthy and challenging work environment.

To conclude this article, I would like to thank you, the reader, for reading my articles. I especially appreciate those of you who have left comments, shared my article with others, or made donations. Thank you all!

If you find this article helpful, please make a donation.

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