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A week ago last Friday, my father was diagnosed with diffuse large cell B lymphoma. When I called him I tried to hide that I was nervous and emotional. I didn’t know how he was taking the news and I wanted to be strong for him. I was surprised when right out of the gate he said, “If they can take care of this I’ll be fine. And if they can’t, I’ll be fine. I’ve had a great life.” And that was that. He then asked, “Are you coming in for Thanksgiving? They put on a great buffet here.”
Dad has mastered “the art of gratitude.” He prays daily, and keeps telling me that the “little flower,” St. Teresa is watching over him. He appreciates life’s little bonuses, like the Nebraska Cornhuskers winning a game, or a great steak dinner, or his grandkids coming over to play scrabble, or how well his new shoes fit, and how hard his favorite show “Raymond” makes him laugh. He is lovable and is greatly loved. He appreciates every minute of every day.
The research shows that people who have made a practice of being thankful and feeling gratitude, even during difficult times end up scoring big on the happiness meter. University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons says that feeling gratitude helps us cope with stress boosts our immune system and might even extend our lives.
While it’s good to know that optimism can help us, the question I immediately had is, are we hard wired for the ability to see the sunny side of life or can we develop it. And I found, that indeed, we can learn how to create our own personal set of rose-colored glasses. Here are a few suggestions below from Web MD:
Write back and tell us what you are thankful for. Just doing this will lower your blood pressure by 10 points – I promise. Anyone who comments and lists their name will be entered into a drawing on November 19 to win one of 5 turkeys (frozen not live, and no, your boss is not the prize). Just kidding ;-) ! We will be giving away five- $50 gift certificates to Save Mart. Enjoy the holiday with your family!