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Give thanks: It's good for you

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ATLANTA -

A lot of people have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, but there's some news that may make you want to say thank you today and everyday!  Research shows that people who feel grateful cope better, and have fewer health problems.

Pastor Kerwin Lee, senior pastor of Berean Christian Church, says thank you a lot.
 
"Not only is it a daily thing, it's hourly, for me.  I give thanks for so much.  I give thanks for my faith, I give thanks for my family.  I give thanks for my wife, I give thanks for my children."

Pastor Lee may be onto something.  Studies have shown that people who keep a daily gratitude journal, writing down what they're grateful for, feel more positive about their lives, feel better about their future, and report fewer symptoms of their illness than people who don't.  Being grateful can even help you sleep better, and feel more rested.
     
If you don't have much to be grateful for, Lee says stop and think,

"The more you think about all of the things that could have happened to you," said Pastor Lee.  "For the negative that did not happen, you can be thankful. The more you think about the people who would love to live the type of life you live, and they're not there for whatever reason, but you're there."

But, what if it's been a rough year?  You've lost a job, a friend, your confidence.  Lee says give thanks for the experience, and what you've learned from it, and look around you.

"Because regardless of the situation any of us find ourselves in, there is someone dealing with the same thing," he said.  "There is someone who has dealt with and has overcome it.  And there's someone who is not even there yet.  And could it be that we're where we are, so that we can help other people?"
    
Researchers say the best way to be grateful is to practice.  Sit down at the same time each day to write down four or five things you're thankful for, and stick up post-it notes to remind yourself.
       
If you're not where you mentally want to be this Thanksgiving, Pastor Lee says, trying thinking of it this way:  you're a survivor.

"And know that through it all, you're still standing.  It may have been rough, it may have gotten tough, but when it's all said and done, you're still here."

But one counselor being thankful can help you live a better life because you can't be both grateful and angry.  So, imagining something good in your life can push away negative emotions.

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