Increase your holiday contentment
In his book, "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life" (Hay House, 2007), Dr. Wayne W. Dyer explains the idea of "living contentment" - living every moment in a state of contentedness, no matter what your circumstances. A spiritual author and speaker, Dyer is 69. He announced earlier this year that he has leukemia.

When I tried to practice this philosophy, I discovered I am not that enlightened. I am, however, able to find moments when I experience "living contentment." And what is a better time to practice this skill than on Thanksgiving Day?

Here are my resolutions for increasing contentment:

Write a Personal Thank-you List

For me, writing something always makes it more real, more concrete. In the past, I've mentally noted things I am grateful for. I need to list them on paper once or twice a week. First on my list will be a thank-you to my body for being responsive to good nutrition and regular exercise. Having abused it for many years, I am deeply appreciative of the good health I enjoy today.

Look for the Silver Lining

When rain interrupts my tennis plans, I struggle to get through my cloud of disappointment. Finding a benefit isn't easy. But if I am willing to engage the question, something positive emerges. Usually I can find an equally good and enjoyable use of my time. I've worked hard to acquire this skill. When, for example, I've let a few extra pounds slip on, I am grateful for the gentle whisper telling me to get back on track. Without that internal mechanism, I might keep gaining.

Give Thanks Regularly and Repeatedly

My husband faithfully takes out the garbage once a week. Watching him carry out the garbage one morning, I realized that I'd never thanked him for his conscientiousness in performing this unglamorous but necessary task. I need to be more expressive about all the things (big and little) that are done for me each day, and take nothing for granted.

It is easy to fall into the trap of being self-critical when you are a self-improvement junkie. Dr. Dyer encourages us to take the opposite point of view, and become generous and appreciative of the wonderful goodness in our lives. When I nourish myself in this way, I have less need to nourish my body by stuffing it with food. And I can't imagine a better, more satisfying strategy for getting through each day!