Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Gratitude is Good

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 19, 2012 5:39 PM

It's way too early for Thanksgiving, but I've been abroad and one place I visited was Cambodia. Boy do you ever learn how lucky we are in the first world, including the U.S.A., when we see the poverty of the third world. I'm not sure the Cambodian government would like that comparison because they're trying and things like cell phones are spreading like wildfire. Still, I saw little girls carrying babies begging for tourists and richer people to buy milk for their little siblings.. One 15-year old girl, who looked like age 8, told me she had to quit school after 7th grade because the family of 7 couldn't afford the $5 fee for high school. I didn't have the heart to ask if that was the monthly or yearly fee, maybe the semester. She had to work in the family's little 3-sided shop, selling souvenirs and cold drinks. She slept on a hammock outside their hut. She had 3 dresses. She could continue school later or go to night school, but that would be even more expensive and is unlikely. She was learning English from tourists and not complaining.

Being thankful is one of the best antidotes to fear, anxiety and depression, grrief and envy. When we think of all the unhappiness and misery which can and does happen, we need to stop and count our blessings. When we worry about relationships, money, job and health, look at what we do have and what we can do. When we envy others and wish for more, we need to pay attention to small pleasures of life and the joy of good character. There is no substiture spiritually or psychologically for a warm. heartfelt thank-you for the good in our world and within ourselves.

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