What Giving Thanks Gives You

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words; watch your words, for they become actions; watch your actions, for they become habits; watch your habits, for they become your character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Apparently, versions of this quote have been attributed to people from Lao Tzu to Buddha to Emerson, but that’s beside the point; I share it not to start a debate over who said it first, but to highlight the power of thought. As psychological research (particularly the field of positive psychology) shows us, our thoughts can exert a noticeable—even a substantial or powerful—effect on our lives, for better or worse, depending on the nature of the thought pattern: more negative thoughts are associated with more negative effects; more positive thoughts are associated with more positive effects. So, in the spirit of positivity, let’s focus on the positive and how to improve overall feelings of well-being. And since we just had Thanksgiving, I want to focus on a specific kind of positive thought, one that Cicero once called the parent of all virtues: gratitude. Let’s explore what makes it so virtuous—and powerful. Continue reading

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Shower Power: Demystifying the Experience of Shower Thoughts

Ironically, I did not think of the idea for this post in the shower. Instead, it happened during a conversation I had a few weeks ago. I was talking with a woman, and near the end of the conversation, I mentioned how I process and think through things really well in the shower. She mentioned that she was the same way, and I think we were both delighted to hear that we weren’t alone in that. And, more than that, I’d wager that it’s actually a pretty common—and, let’s be honest, it’s a pretty delightful—experience. And I think there are some valid psychological reasons for why. Here goes. Continue reading