Saying Thanks as a Habit

Over the last years I have gradually developed the habit of saying thanks. I start in the morning. I say thanks for all the good things that happened the day before and also for the »things« that are there all the time – being happily married, having found my vocation as a writer etc. This is a part of my morning meditation called maypole exercise, which is one of the basic exercises of the Phyllis Krystal method. I do this every morning, which sets a thankful atmosphere in me for the whole day.

It is one thing to say thanks for the good things, but what about the bad ones? I am grateful for the mental illness episodes in my past, for they had brought me to the point in my life, when I finally realized, what my true vocation was. On one hand it was hard to accept the illness and it took me about 13 years to come to the conclusion that it was all for the best. On the other hand it is easy to talk about the positive aspect of something that is over.

The truly hard thankfulness seems the one that we can develop already while a bad thing is happening to us. Let me give you an example. When I wake up with a migraine, I first get angry. Then I realize that anger will only make the migraine worse. Then I say mechanically: »Thank you God for this migraine. I do not know why it is good for me, but it might reveal itself later«. I do not really mean it and how could I, when my head hurts like hell. Nonetheless it helps to say thanks, for these sentences calm me down, while angry sentences would only make the headache worse. In retrospective I have been many times really grateful for the migraine, for I have realized that it had slowed me down, when I was either working too much or getting too emotional.

Last but not least I want to tell you a funny story in order to spice the serious subject a bit. Some weeks ago I was buying coffee from a coffee machine. When the sentence »Please remove the cup« showed up on the display, I said: »Thank you«. The next moment I was laughing at myself and looking around in shame. The lady that had heard me was smiling. We ended laughing together.

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