“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”   -Oprah Winfrey

Today was a great day to be outside. The fall color was evident with maple trees displaying vibrant colors. The sun was shining. The camelias were blooming. It was a beautiful Thanksgiving in Tennessee.

My mother experienced her first Thanksgiving since the death of my step-father today. We celebrated at Jennifer’s mother’s home and I was very thankful she invited my mom to celebrate together. We plan on connecting with my family again on Saturday to enjoy time with my brother and his children. Even with all that has happened to cause anxiety and grief over the last year, we all have much to be grateful for.

Gratitude: The secret weapon In the fight against anxiety.

I’ve written many times about how giving thanks and finding things to be grateful for rewires the brain to think in terms of abundance and helps train us to be filled with happiness and joy. Gratitude allows us to cast our worries to the Heavens and refocus on the good. It allows us to see past obstacles, allows prayers to be answered and allows others to see our joy and brighten their lives.

Sometimes it is not easy to give thanks, especially when we have recently experienced heartache, anxiety or loss.  It is good to remember that thankfulness does not mean our pain does not matter.  Life is hard.  However, a lack of gratitude can actually cause our pain to grow more intense and spiral out of control so that we won’t be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This Holiday Season, why not try something new?

KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Though we may not always recognize it, we are truly blessed. Thankfulness actually trains our minds to see and acknowledge our blessings, and acknowledging our blessings help us to experience them more fully. If you have trouble finding things to be grateful for, I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal through the holidays. Writing down three things to be grateful for each day can help us train to see the good in the little things, expand our happiness and allow our gratefulness to positively influence others.

Over the last year I’ve developed a fuller appreciation of the benefits of journaling. Writing down feelings allows us to self-reflect, address inner demons, cast them out, and refocus on the good. Journaling keeps our thoughts organized, helps record ideas, relieves stress, boots memory, and inspires creativity. When we are journaling it is also a great time to set, review and make progress toward the achievement of our goals and dreams.

MEDITATE & EXPERIENCE ABUNDANCE

Many people practice meditation to clear their mind, separate themselves from worries, experience enlightenment, focus on spirituality and connect with the Divine. Whereas many believe in emptying their mind, some guided meditation techniques choose to focus the mind and spirit on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous and good, helping us to experience abundance.

As a Christian I feel the best aspect of meditation is the focus on Christ and His boundless Love for all of us. Without knowing Him and experiencing His Peace, life would be dull and colorless in comparison for me.

PERSONALIZED ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS

On Mondays during our staff meetings we like to discuss what we have done to brighten the lives of our clients. We like to continually find ways to get to know our clients better and provide acts of random kindness. Someone recently brought up that they were able to send a get-well card or provide a mask to someone who came in the office. Jennifer noted that just giving someone a mask or sending a card was good but possibly not to the standard that we should aspire. We noted that an Act of Random Kindness was not quite as meaningful unless it was personalized and meaningful. Jennifer designated herself the PARK Police and we all had a little fun discussing her new title.

EXPRESS APPRECIATION FOR OTHERS

If we are truly grateful, share it with others. During this Holiday Season, why not find ways to say thank you at least seven times a day, write seven thank you letters, or send seven thank you emails or texts. If everyone practiced giving thanks and spreading thankfulness around, how much stress, anxiety, resentfulness and hurt feelings would we be able to neutralize. How much better would we all be if we were continually finding things to be grateful for within others.

Expressing thanks, being grateful and lavishing praise are actions that don’t cost us anything. We all appreciate and enjoy receiving these things. Why not find more ways during this Holiday Season to give to others and give more abundantly?

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy

Joe D. Franklin, CFP is Founder and President of Franklin Wealth Management, and CEO of Innovative Advisory Partners, a registered investment advisory firm in Hixson, Tennessee. A 20+year industry veteran, he contributes guest articles for Money Magazine and authors the Franklin Backstage Pass blog. Joe has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Magazine, USA Today and other publications.

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