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Giving Thanks in 5 Steps
It’s no coincidence that you tend to hear the words “thanks” and “blessed” around the Thanksgiving holiday. For millions, showing thanks is something they wished they demonstrated more throughout the year but schedules, kids, work, etc. get in the way. We have a basic starter-kit list of five ways to show you are ‘thankful’ year-round.
1. Change your everyday language.
Start with shifting your daily perspective and see people, all people with an open, non-judgmental heart. But it all starts with self. So be conscious each time you talk to yourself negatively (I hate myself, why did I do that, etc.) and make a new personal affirmation (I did my best, I think I can do this, I will try…). When you are affirming, you are being grateful. The words you speak to yourself and to others really do alter perception of the world. No toxic talk. Try this for one week and ‘feel a difference.’
2. Encourage gratitude among your family/friends.
Shifting perspectives–seeing the cup half full is a big deal and once you consistently adopt a more forgiving mindset, integrate that same ‘love and respect’ within your circle of friends and family. Each time you observe the negative, toxic behavior and/or talk, calmly offer them a reminder of how you are pulling for them. Tell a family member or friend why they are valued by you. Encourage talk of gratitude and share your experience of letting go of the toxic self-talk. Be consistent in your encouragement, even if its not adopted by others. It takes time.
Most people, and especially those who suffer from low self-esteem, do forget a very important figure: themselves. Which is why a healthy activity is to write a page of acknowledgements to yourself. Literally, get a pad and pen (or your computer) and start documenting each and every thing of significance you feel you deserve acknowledgment for. An example, might look like this:
And I thank you, Self, for being so consistent in doing all that you do to try and keep me healthy and relaxed. Thanks for reminding me to take the medicine, for keeping up with friends, and most of all for looking out for mom and dad in their elder years….
Make an appointment with the great ‘Divine’ or ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ or whomever or whatever you send prayer. Whether it’s in the morning or right before bed or several times a day, create a dedicated time in the day to give Thanks. Don’t be wishy-washy about it. Make your prayer time a ritual that you look forward to, and make the time significant enough it won’t be overlooked.
For example, kneel beside the bed or create a space in your home where you pray.
5. Give back.
During the holiday season, we tend to be open to ‘giving back’ financially or through volunteerism. But take this concept a step above and think about those people, sung and unsung who have helped you or those you care about in some meaningful way. The high school teacher who could use a free vacation, the babysitter who watches your ‘energetic kids’ or a local charity who you really admire.
Give back with your deeds. Do something meaningful that clearly reflects your level of gratitude. And consider this, give something for someone that they cannot ever repay. It doesn’t have to be a check for money. It can be a blood drive for people needing uncommon types. It can be mentoring a neighborhood child who could use a role model. It might even be someone in need of a kind face, an open heart, and listening ear.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus