Expressing gratitude this Thanksgiving during a time when family and friends gather for a festive dinner while enjoying each others company, is very meaningful. As I joined my family this year, I reflected upon what and to whom I am grateful. In my book, I use the acronym GRACE when I refer to the five traits that lead to a happier, healthier and longer life and include gratitude as part of the A- attitude.
We all have much to be thankful for, and I encourage each and every one to take time to reflect upon what they have to be grateful, and whenever possible, express those sentiments to those people. Often times the people to whom we owe so much have departed, but we can still bring them to our thoughts and reflect on the goodness they brought to our lives.
Last year I lost my mother after open heart surgery. I think about her every day and reflect on how she inspired me in my life and career. My father died several years ago, and I do much the same. Additionally, I have many opportunities when speaking with my patients to reflect upon those lessons I had learned from him. My father was a WWII veteran, as I observed Veterans Day this year; I remembered the personal sacrifices he made to his country. I am so grateful to him and all the other WWII veterans who served before and after him. As I see so many wounded veterans, I am reminded of the injuries my father suffered. I reflect upon the fact that he bravely fought to overcome his handicaps, and I was the recipient of those lessons, a reward from my father.
I encourage my readers to examine their lives for all those to whom they have debts of gratitude. Expressing our heartfelt feelings of thanks is liberating and provides us with a very positive experience. I learned this from my patients; they expressed to me how good they felt when they would thank me for medical treatments I had provided to them that improved their health. Since the publication of my book, I have found that the shoe has been on placed the other foot. I have discovered countless individuals who have helped ME in my life and career, and it has been a joyous experience to thank each and every one of them, an unexpected dividend of becoming an author.
Through this holiday season, I challenge you, my readers, to take the time and reflect on people who are currently in your life or who were in the past. Place their names on a list, and find a way to thank them for what they have done for you. If a person is deceased, I grant you permission to write a letter to them. There is no need to mail it but if you feel compelled; just send it to me. I will read it as their surrogate.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and this entire Holiday Season, I leave you with two thoughtful statements.
“It’s not having what you want it’s wanting what you’ve got…” – Cheryl Crow
“Thou shall not covet thy neighbor or thy neighbor’s wife”- The 10th Commandment
To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein MD