How to Be Thankful in All Things

Are you thankful in all things? Does it matter?

On Friday I learned I have a basal cell carcinoma on my lower leg. Although yes it is skin cancer, it can be removed and cured without likelihood of follow up treatment. And yet, I’ve been angry for days. Transplant recipients on immunosuppressive medication have, among other things, a high risk of skin cancer. So here we go. I can add one more thing to an already long list of health problems. I’ve been on edge and grumpy to everyone around me since hearing the news. Logic takes a back seat to emotions when it feels like the proverbial straw landed on the camel’s back.

It wasn’t until this morning that it even remotely occurred to me to be thankful that the cancer isn’t melanoma. Or that it isn’t on my face where basal cell carcinomas are most common. Wait! Why was it not my first reaction to be thankful? I know better! I’m too distracted by an inner dialogue of feeling sorry for myself. So often when we hear of someone else’s bad news we’ll say, “It could be worse.” (Even better if we have the wisdom to not say it out loud.) Why is that not our easy go-t0 response when the bad news ball drops in our own home court? Ok maybe because that isn’t a very comforting thought.

What we can do though is to develop a habit of thankfulness, no matter what our mood, so that when things come at us out of the blue our mentally habituated reaction is to look for the sunny side. This morning the reason it occurred to me to be grateful was I read a text from a friend. We share gratitude thoughts on an almost daily basis. I’ve been busy and gotten behind, thinking it wouldn’t matter But gratitude always matters. When I saw her text it was like ringing a bell for one of Pavlov’s puppies.

Learning to be give thanks in all things takes intention and practice, but the benefits vastly outweigh the effort. Here are some additional resources to help you develop a habit of thankfulness.

How to Keep a Gratitude Journal

10 Things Grateful People Do Differentlly

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude


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