You are likely familiar with the question of whether a glass is half full or half empty.  Your opinion often reflects your state of mind and no one could be faulted for having a slightly less than enthusiastic view this year.  We are coming up on Thanksgiving though, so let’s take a clear eyed look and see if we reframe that experience and find gratitude.

There is no denying that these last few years have caused each of us some pause.  There have been serious questions about our government’s ability to resolve complex issues.  Wild weather patterns have become a norm.  We’ve had huge swings in the markets and the economy.  Diversity, equity and inclusion concerns have come to the forefront.  There has been a general uptick in violence, along with a pandemic and the staffing shortages.  So it is easy to justify looking at your glass as half empty.

We noted in last year’s article though, that learning to live with a more positive outlook helps people have healthier relationships and do better both academically and professionally.  Given the challenges noted above, how do we have a positive outlook?  Well, most experts agree that it is a matter of perspective.

That’s one of the advantages of working with seniors.  Our elders are great at seeing the bigger picture because they have lived through so much.  They point out that political leaders and movements change and are often cyclical.  They have lived through other periods of market turbulence and world wars.  They note that pandemics have been a part of our collective history and that human beings are incredibly resilient.

They also point out that science has shown that gratitude can boost both mental and physical health.  That by focusing on an uplifting moment from a recent event, a book, or even just imagining a place that brings you joy, can help you have a much more positive perspective.  They note that engaging in volunteer work, helping others, also helps us feel good about ourselves.  That caring and sharing is a way each of us can cultivate gratitude and it doesn’t cost a dime.

In his later years Mark Desvaux said, “Some people see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty, the enlightened are simply grateful to have a glass.”  We think he must have had a lot of life experience by that point.  So here’s hoping you have a very happy Thanksgiving season and wish that, rather than looking at what you want, you can celebrate all you already possess and find a way to care and share with others.

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