thanks·giv·ing noun \thaŋ(k)s-ˈgi-viŋ also ˈthaŋ(k)s-ˌ\
1: the act of giving thanks 2: a prayer expressing gratitude (Merriam Webster)
The Thanksgiving Holiday tomorrow is uniquely American. Other countries have a similar celebration but not on the fourth Thursday of November.
I like Thanksgiving and wanted to start my celebration of it here on the blog.
I was riding my bicycle this morning and some of the things I have to be thankful for began rolling through my head and I wanted to share them with you.
The thing I am most grateful for is my current state of superb health. I retired 12 years ago and think I currently enjoy the best health of my entire life. I can’t run as fast or jump as high as I did in my 20’s and 30’s but my general health, mental and physical, is the best ever. One of the main reasons for that wonderful health is co-writing this blog. And for that I am deeply grateful to John for suggesting we write a blog on diet and good health back in March of 2010. It’s funny how the blog has worked for me. It brought a health-oriented focus to my mind that has not wavered in nearly three years. So thanks, John, much appreciated.
Once we started writing the blog, I signed up for various courses from The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company). Three of the most valuable were Nutrition Made Clear, taught by Professor Roberta Anding, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at any Age, by Dr. Anthony Goodman, Montana State University and Cornell Medical College and Stress and Your Body by Professor Robert Sapolsky, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant recipient, Stanford University.
As you can see from their titles, information flowed from them through me to the blog. They added breadth and scope to our efforts.
What I learned from them has helped to reshape my life in the last three years as I put their lessons into daily practice.
Because of my good health, as a senior citizen, I daily have the blessing of being able to ride my bike and enjoy it with the same pleasure I did as a child. I mostly ride along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. You can see one of the photos from my ride today above. I also write a blog on my own called WillingWheeling which has the singular focus of the beautiful elements in my life. Feel free to take a look.
I shot the skyline of Chicago to share with you a view that very few people who actually live here ever see. It is from the eastern-most point behind the Adler Planetarium. Few Chicagoans even know there is anything behind that building. I ride my bike there often.
I am also grateful for this November to remember weather we are experiencing. Temperatures have been more than 10 degrees above normal this week. The 50 and 60 degree F temps are ideal cycling weather. I pedaled over 40 miles in today’s balmy air. Some call this Indian Summer.
I am also grateful for my beautiful daughter, Kate, who has just been accepted into a university and offered a four year scholarship. I am very proud of her. The photo of us was taken at a fashion show she produced which raised several thousand dollars for the Wounded Warriors.
Last but not least, I am grateful for my little canine companion, Gabi, who I adopted six years ago and who makes me laugh every day of my life. I wrote the strange story of my adoption of her here.
It is of no small importance to me that expressing gratitude and appreciation is one of the primary points in positive psychology. Besides benefiting the recipient, it also has positive impacts on the person expressing it. Here’s what Dr. Maggie Crowley told a group of Healthy Transitions people at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “When we practice appreciation, we turn off the anxious instincts triggered by the stress response. The heart, brain and endocrine system work in sync and heal. It is impossible for the brain to be in a state of appreciation and fear at the same time. So, appreciation is the antidote for fear and stress.” You can read more about it here.
I give special thanks for these magnificent blessings in my life.
How about you? Please take some time to appreciate the things and people to whom and for whom you are grateful. They will feel better for it and so will you.