Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dr. Yael,

I wanted to share this poem with your readers.

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Thankfulness
By Annette Amelia Mandis

I am thankful for numerous Creator’s gifts,
Blessings bestowed to arise again each morning,
To another magnificent day here on Earth,
Enjoying variety of abundant delights.

I am thankful for fabulous chances to see,
Viewing realistic and abstract creations,
Each nuance of a dancer’s exquisite movement,
Glorious ocean waves, breathtaking mountain peaks.

I am thankful for the ability to smell,
Delicately sweet to pungently intense,
Aromatic scent, steaming vegetables, sautéed meats,
Fragrances from G-d’s abundant gardens.

I am thankful for opportunities to taste,
Delectably scrumptious culinary delights,
Flavorful sweet, tasty salty, exotic spicy,
Rainbow colored appetizers to whet palates.
I am thankful for the privilege of hearing,
Hushed quiet whispers, loud piercing safety alarms,
Gurgling infant sounds, encouraging words,
Enchanting instrumentals, magical vocals.

I am thankful for chances to touch,
Caressing wonderfully loving husband,
Nursing my miraculous infant,
Years later kissing beautifully grown daughter.

I am thankful for being privileged to experience,
Breath of treasured meaningful life,
Heartbeat of future hopes, dreams,
Joy of wondrous possibilities still to come.

 

When you take time to truly look around at the world we live in, you will have the ability to focus on the negative or positive. Even while suffering from a catastrophe, many individuals have discovered the inner strength to create important change.  They suddenly become heroes, helping others. When saving one life, one saves the world.

Currently we live in a period of global anti-Semitism. It is so easy to panic. However, Purim teaches us that Queen Esther and the Jewish people fasted and turned to Hashem. They looked deep into themselves while begging the Almighty to save them from annihilation. Each one of us is also gifted with the ability to turn to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, begging for Him to unite us so that Moshiach can arrive in our lifetime.

 

Dear Annette,

It is wonderful to hear from you. You are correct that if we look at all that we have and are thankful, we will clearly see the miracles that Hashem performs for us every day. When we make the effort to be grateful for everything, we will be truly happy people. People are always looking for the secret to happiness, it’s really very simple – being grateful.

Much research has been done on how gratitude changes the way our brain works. Many studies have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed. One study (Wong & Brown, 2017) specifically looked at why gratitude makes people less depressed. Here are four reasons they found.

Gratitude helps remove negative and toxic emotions and allows us to focus on the good. This makes us happier people because there is no envy or resentment.

Gratitude helps us be happier even if we don’t share these feelings with others.

Changing our mindset to be more gracious and thankful for the things in our lives takes time.

Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain, although it may take time for us to feel the difference. In fact, simply expressing gratitude has an effect. While not conclusive, this suggests that practicing gratitude may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude even later, which could help improve mental health over time.

In order to bring Moshiach we have to try to be the best person we can be. We have to try to focus on the good in our own life and the good in others. Doing so will help us become happier and more grateful people; we will increase ahavas Yisroel and be that much closer to bringing Moshiach!

Thank you for your beautiful poem and for helping us learn how to increase our gratitude.

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.