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How to Stop, Smell the Roses and Just Be Thankful

Submitted by on October 19, 2019 – 8:05 amNo Comment

Stop and Smell the Roses and Just Be Thankful

How to Feel Thankful and Appreciate What You Have

Do you ever wonder why it sometimes feels so hard to “stop and smell the roses” on the pathway of life? Many people find themselves wishing for the next “chapter” in their lives to begin, without taking time to savor what they do have, and what is currently going on. For example, people often tell themselves that life will be better “when I have more free time”, or “when we have more money,” or even, “when my children start school”. We rarely take the time to look at what is currently going on, appreciate it, and be thankful for it. Instead of spending time focusing on what we don’t have, it’s time to focus on what we do have, and to be grateful for today. Here are some tips to help you accomplish just that:

 1. Turn your negative thoughts into positive ones. If you find yourself starting to think those wishful thoughts, stop yourself. Interrupt yourself, and replace your usual “when I”, with “right now”. Instead of, “when I have more money,” for example, say “with the money I have now, I can…” This allows you not only to focus on the present, but also to stay positive.

2. Count your blessings: all of them. Make a list of everything that you appreciate in your life at this moment. This will allow you to see, on paper, how much you actually do have.

3. Appreciate the little things. Maybe your husband takes the trash out without you having to ask him; maybe there was no traffic on the way to work today; or maybe your mother-in-law gave you a compliment. Whatever it is, take the time to acknowledge the little things day by day. You may even want to acknowledge these out loud: tell your husband, “Thank you” for taking the trash out, and tell him you appreciate it. This will not only help you feel positive, but it will make him feel good too.

4. Journal. Journaling is often a therapist’s go-to advice: it can be one of your best tools. I always encourage my clients to journal. There is something special about being able to get all your thoughts and feelings out on paper: it’s a type of release. If you’re feeling down and counting the days until the next chapter in life starts, take the time to write it out, letting go of all those pent-up emotions and aggravations.

5. Make a list. Write down everything you want to accomplish in life: write down your goals, your hopes, your dreams, your desires. Write down big things (travel to Europe) and small things (take the dog for a walk at least three times a week). Keep this list somewhere within easy access, and when you have accomplished something, cross it off. Add to it from time to time, too. This will help you see (once again, the visual, concrete image!) that you ARE achieving your goals.

6. Breathe. When you start feeling overwhelmed, or you feel that life will never be the way you want it … take some deep breaths, close your eyes, and consider what your life was like a year ago; three years ago; five years ago. Think about how far you’ve come. Tell yourself that you will get to the place you want to be … it just takes time.

Erica S. Gould, LPC-S, is a licensed professional counselor at Living Well Dallas. She works with individuals, couples, and families to help them achieve happiness and reach their full potential. She can be reached at 469-737-0326 or


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