Healthy Awareness by Jo Ann Branno­­­ck, Ph.D.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I want you to think of the word itself in reverse: “giving thanks.” Isn’t that the true meaning of Thanksgiving? It is a special time to think about everything we are thankful for in life, but how often do we miss being thankful and showing our gratitude?
We spend so much time watching the depressing news on television and hearing what is happening in the world and the nation with so much loss of lives. We stress being perfect, coming in first, and forgetting to be grateful and happy. This week, Spend time thinking about giving thanks and being grateful for what you have.
Kindness is the extension of giving thanks through showing our gratitude. It is the concern for others without expecting anything in return. Subaru gives the Women’s Club of Fullerton a percentage of its sales during one month to be used for charities. Giving thanks can be in the form of kindness, so I suggest you do one of the following:
1) Hold the door open for a stranger
2) Find opportunities to give compliments
3) Smile more often, even at strangers
4) Tell those special people in your life that you care about them
5) Do a favor without asking for anything in return
6) Support your local non-profit
7) Support the Fullerton Observer
8) Invite someone who is alone to Thanksgiving dinner
9) Volunteer to serve dinner to the homeless
Sometimes, I must remind myself to focus on giving thanks for where I am. One of the times that I can focus on this time to reflect is during my weekly 3-mile walk. I notice so much more than when I ride in my car past a neighborhood. Besides the feeling of the changing morning weather and the sights of the blooming flowers, I am thankful for the kindness of people who have those little free libraries in front of their houses. Have you seen these, and what do you feel about them?
I did my research and found that more than 90,000 book exchanges are registered with the organization that monitors these, and they are present in 91 countries, with millions of books exchanged yearly. According to Wikipedia, the aim of these homeowners with those little free libraries is to increase access to books.
This neighborhood book exchange started in 2009 as a non-profit book seeking to place small, accessible exchange boxes in front of houses or on street corners. Take a book, return a book. And I say give a book!
I want to go up to their front door and knock and thank them for their kindness in making books available for people like me.   So, I thank you for the expense of establishing one in front of your home.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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