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Hattiesburg Clinic

Genuine Gratitude

By Carol Simmons, MS, LPC


This is the time of year when we are reminded to be thankful. What usually comes to mind are families, freedom, warm homes, food on the table, and accessibility of care when we need it.

My field of work frequently puts me in contact with people who have lost their ability to see the good things in their lives or to discount them as unimportant. Strategies for improved thinking patterns can be very important not only when talking to people who are depressed or going through difficult times, but also those leading lives without major stressors. Thinking patterns improve as people learn to stop and find gratitude for something several times during the day.

I frequently ask people to get a journal and each day list something good that happened to them or to mention something that went well for them. They often find this very difficult at first. Then I remind them that it does not have to be a major event and that things to be thankful for often come in very small packages. Once they train themselves to find something to satisfy the assignment, they then find that it gets easier and easier and subsequently becomes an automatic response.

My unexpected “blessings” are often found in nature. Try walking through the grass and paying attention to what is under your feet. Almost without fail you can find a very small flower hiding in the grass. You may be the only person in the world who sees that flower, and if you want to develop a spirit of gratitude, you are accountable for appreciating that. I cannot see a rainbow without feeling that this is somehow a special gift just for me, even though many people see the same thing. I am amazed at the colors in a sunset or sunrise and wish I could pocket that image and take it through my day.

Gratitude is not always in the obvious things but can be in the very small occurrences that enrich our lives in little ways. These inconsequential happenings occur constantly throughout our day. Even when our lives are out of control or when we are going through difficult times, these little blessings are still there. If we fail to appreciate them, we are losing an opportunity for feeling true gratitude. We have also lost the opportunity for happiness that comes from within – regardless of our circumstances.


At Connections, we offer behavioral and mental health evaluation. Following diagnosis, we work with you and your child to determine the best course of treatment and therapy for them. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 601-261-5159.

Information on this page should be utilized as a guide, not medical advice. If you feel you need to speak with someone regarding behavioral therapy or counseling, please contact Connections to make an appointment.