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Is it possible to have a crossover between psychology and religion? By jove, I think it just might be. In reading 50 Psychology Classics by Tom Butler-Bowden, I’ve discovered some happiness hints by Barry Schwartz. In addition to limiting your choices, Dr. Schwartz advises his readers to make their decisions irreversible and to constantly appreciate the lives they have.

It’s the appreciation concept that grabbed me.  Even downward comparisons that remind of us how fortunate we are compared with many others can be a boost to self-esteem and overall feelings of well-being. Instead of saying something like, “If only I had a newer, snazzier car,” instead say, “I’m so glad I have a car that gets me where I need to go. Lots of people in the world aren’t so fortunate.” Schwartz contends that not only are grateful people are happier and optimistic but they are also healthier.  I’m all for that!

So on this cool, overcast November afternoon, I’m thinking of the multitudinous things for which I am grateful. Dr. Schwartz’s advice was reinforced by reminders from church this morning, including the closing song in Relief Society, “Count Your Blessings.” Then there’s always Alma’s reminder to “Live in Thanksgiving daily.” Actually, there are beaucoup scriptural reminders of the importance of expressing gratitude; I just happen to like Alma’s.

While I’m usually pretty good at this anyway, this month I’m going to focus on the good in my life, ALL of it. In no particular order, here are a few things I’m especially thankful for today. I’m going to start with a dozen. Maybe you can add a few of your own.

*Living at this time in our history. I don’t think I’d be nearly so happy without indoor plumbing and electricity.
*My sweet, thoughtful, talented husband.
*My children and their spouses. Though I’ve read that pride is the universal sin, I can’t help it. I’m proud of the lives they’re living and the choices they’re making.
*My precocious precious grandchildren. Yes, I’m biased, and I hope you don’t have a problem with that.
*Family, including my sibs and their spouses and children. All of my in-laws and stepchildren are huge blessings too.
*Laughter. I laughed so hard at something 2-year-old Emma said the other evening that I was nearly crying. It ’s not so much what she was saying as it was her expressiveness.
*Music. All kinds. Right now I’m listening to Wanda Johnson, a blues singer that my friend Connie introduced me too.
*Friends, old and new. They have no idea how they’ve enriched my life, even the online ones.
*Health. God willing and the creek don’t rise, my brother David and I will be participating the OBX Half Marathon next weekend.
*My job and the many opportunities it provides.
*Mother Nature. Love those leaves and the cool temps.
*A loving Heavenly Father who so generously provided the above and much, much more.

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