Being thankful and in gratitude or appreciation are concepts that for many is a game played to please others. It is that outfit in the closet taken out for the special occasion with family once or twice a year. The rest of the year, in day to day living, the perception and blinded sense that there is not much to be thankful or grateful for is prominent.

Why is this?

Given the knowledge that we can choose our thought and therefore have true feelings of appreciation and gratitude, then why would anyone choose a life of gloom and doom?

Understanding why, is the first step in creating a new attitude, a different way of perceiving our ability and power to choose. Research show that we love options and do better when we can make our own choices.

There is real potential knowing that within a few seconds we can make a deliberate choice to feel better about anything!

Why would one CHOOSE to feel bad?

“Researchers often measure preference as a pattern of choosing.”1 This implies that there is a preference in what we choose.

The concept of preference in making choices begs the question: If we have a choice between thinking thoughts that make us feel bad and thinking thoughts that make us feel good and we choose the thoughts that make us feel bad, does this mean we prefer feeling bad?
No one would say YES, I prefer to feel bad!

Many factors are in play here from deep-rooted beliefs, habitual behaviors, addiction to negative feelings, and many other factors that I will not list here.

What is important to recognize is that a slight change, a one-degree shift in the choices we make can be the beginning of a new pattern where we can at least recognize that there is a choice and we have the power to make it!

The longest of journeys always start with the first step!



Our ABILITY to make choices is our Freedom!

Our ability to make choices is not a small thing. Other research2 suggests that increased personal choice increases the sense that we are the author of our own actions and their consequences to which the research concludes “could form the foundation for a sense of freedom”

Two different systems to make choices

Research on the Mechanics of Choice3 describes two different mental processes used to make choices. System1 is a fast, unconscious, often emotion-driven option that draws from personal experience that comes from the heart. System2 is the analytical option where a slower more deliberative method rationally balances pros and cons among all available information. The brain is fully engaged here!

So, yet more understanding in our ability to make choices. Understanding that there are two choices and that both are valid and useful depending on the circumstance. Knowing that in certain cases analyzing all the detail and information available may be the right may to proceed. Other times, when we want to make a deliberate choice about how we want to feel about something System1 – our heartfelt inner guidance is the way to go.

An easy way to find out is to test it for yourself. The next time you feel negative emotions about something make a decision that you will choose a different way of feeling about it. Try System2 think about the reasons you feel that way, remember the circumstance, remember the details… chances are you will not feel better anytime soon. System1 can change the way you feel in an instant!

Try it the next time you are preparing for a gathering with family and you know your feelings can go either way!

Choose System1–the system from the heart and keep the detailed brain driven System2 to buy your next car, house or plan your next trip!

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  1. On Choice, Preference and Preference of Choice
  2. Freedom, choice, and the sense of agency
  3. The mechanics of Choice