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How To Be Thankful

How To Be Thankful

Thanksgiving can be a tough time for people. I lost my father almost six years ago, and his birthday often falls on Thanksgiving (this year itís the day before), so I always miss the way heíd finagle my leftover turkey sandwich out of my hot, little hands and into his. Many of you miss loved ones on Thanksgiving – or the holiday reminds you of the person who abandoned you – or the husband that betrayed you – or the perfect mother you never had. Itís easy to let Thanksgiving devolve into a pityfest.

But Thanksgiving is about being grateful, appreciating life, and giving thanks for the abundance in our lives. So how can we get that back?

A few tips.

Focus on the good.

All of us have something to be thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. Maybe itís just that the mashed potatoes are really rocking this year. Maybe itís the parade on TV that makes your heart sing.† Maybe itís the weather or the view from your window or the fact that you get to catch up with your favorite cousin. Practicing gratitude reminds us to be thankful, not just on holidays, but every day. Whatís awesome about your life?

Move through the bad.

Iím not suggesting you stuff your negative emotions like a Thanksgiving turkey, but let yourself experience them fully – cry, scream, hit your pillows – and then let them go.† What emotions do you need to move through so you can be free?

Choose joy.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Joy is a choice. You may not be able to change the circumstances around you. Youíre not gonna be able to keep Uncle Lester from downing that fifth of gin. Youíre not going to be able to bring your mother back.† You canít help the fact that Grandma dries out the turkey every year. But what can you do to make Thanksgiving meaningful, memorable, and fun? (Silly string, anyone?) On this Thanksgiving, what can you do to choose joy?

Live in love.

Thanksgiving may bring up resentments from the past, frustrations with the present, and fears about the future. But one way to choose joy is to release resentments, forgive those who have hurt you, and open your heart to those around you. When you live in love, gratitude is inevitable.† What can you do to live a more loving life today?

What Are You Thankful For?

Tell us what youíre thankful for on this day. Whatís awesome in your life? May you have the best Thanksgiving ever, no matter whatís happening around the dinner table.

With love and gratitude,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†,†Pink Medicine Revolutionary,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.


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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


+ add your own
5:17AM PST on Jan 4, 2013

Not just picking the bad is the way to be thankful

7:31AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

good reminders

8:34PM PST on Nov 21, 2012

Thank you for the reminder.

4:18PM PST on Nov 21, 2012

Thanks for the post.

2:15AM PST on Dec 27, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:47PM PST on Nov 27, 2011

I am Thankful everyday for my all my blessings, for my beautiful
family and my friends. For me Thanksgiving is 365 days a year.

9:36PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

I am happy and I have so many reasons to be thankful, all friends and family I have had and still do!!!!

9:54PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

I'm thankful for my wonderful son-in-law!

9:41PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

I am thankful for caring people like this author.

9:31PM PST on Nov 24, 2011

We should be thankful for all that we have a very happy thanksgiving and for the rest of the year may all of you be happy and smiling

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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