In a nation with so much excess, so much opportunity and so much wealth, we have much for which to be thankful. Our nation’s economy is, arguably, close to the strongest it has ever been. The unemployment rate has just printed 3.5%, and this was the 16th month in a row that it has been below 4%. If you add up all the months from 1969 to 2018 (49 years), there was a grand total of FIVE months, when it was below 4%.* We just lived through SIXTEEN months straight! The stock market is within a few percentage points from an all-time high** and wages throughout America are rising. We are a very blessed nation; but at the same time, we suffer from some of the highest levels of depression and anxiety when compared to the rest of the world.
Verywellmind.com claims that approximately 15% of America’s adult population will experience depression during their lifetime. AAFP.org states that almost 20% of Americans are currently suffering from depression or anxiety, irrespective of religion, social status or income level. The battle for the space in our minds is one that is to be constantly and intentionally addressed.
In my opinion, our world is becoming so “self” focused, that it is driving us to the brink of insanity. When we continually buy into corporate marketing schemes and are always thinking about what “we” want, and what “we” need to make ourselves happy, we lose the ability to see what we already have. Psychologytoday.com has studies showing that having a grateful attitude is proven to help combat symptoms of depression and anxiety. There is a misnomer that being happy is what causes us to be grateful; but that thinking is backwards. Deciding to be grateful is what forces us into a state of happiness. You may be thinking, “but I really don’t feel like I have anything to be grateful for.” To help steer our minds in the right direction, I’ll share an excerpt from Don Cousin’s book, “Unexplainable”:
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you’re more fortunate than the million who will likely not survive this week.
If you’ve never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you’re ahead of 500,000,000 people in the world right now.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you’re richer than 75% of the world.
If you have money in your bank and in your wallet, and some spare change in a dish someplace, you’re among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude helps us to shift focus off ourselves and diverts our attention to the positive impacts that someone other than ourselves has had on our life. Philippians 4:8 of the Christian Bible spells out the recipe for a life of contentment: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
This holiday season, I encourage all MCM readers to take time to start implementing the act of thanksgiving. Living a daily life of thanksgiving, no matter what your circumstance, is the key to a life of happiness. I’m very thankful for each of you who are reading this article and I pray peace and blessings upon you.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
* Bureau of Labor Statistics
** Dow Jones Industrial Average