Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks Revisited!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 11, Number 11

Despite the difficulties of the past few months, November is a time for Thanksgiving and giving thanks. My family and I continue to grapple with our loss while we adjust to life without my wife and their mother. We do give thanks for the many blessings we have as well as for the many years we shared together. It is very difficult to accept that our lives have changed forever so quickly but we have terrific memories and shared experiences. So we move forward the best we can.

We will be making major changes in our practice. We are moving to new offices on the same professional campus on December 1. We will have more space and a greater degree of comfort. We are also looking to hire one to two licensed and experienced mental health therapists so that we can provide more services and meet the growing need for mental health treatment. We will be changing the format of this E-Letter within the next several issues so that it is more contemporary. I will also continue to write about my journey with grief in Dr. K’s blog. Finally, we will be replacing the Ask the Doc section with a blog of general musings from our therapists.

This month’s E-Letter is about Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks. It is a reprint from an earlier E-letter but it remains timely. It seems that we live in a “what can you do for me today” society where entitlement and selfishness is prevalent. While there is still a sense of community, you wouldn’t know it from the news media or from the numerous shopping flyers this week. It’s time for us to be gracious and to be concerned about our fellow neighbors even if they disagree with us politically or otherwise. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous comments and messages of support we have received.

Practice News

New Address: As of December 1, 2016, we will be moving to our larger quarters at:

5551 N. University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067

The building is located at the Northwest corner of the Coral Springs Professional Campus and at the intersection of University and Westview Drives.

The office is being dedicated to the memory of Jill Kimmel who was a counselor, administrator, and friend of the practice.

New Associate. We are pleased to announce that Paul Dolnick, LMHC, has joined our practice. Paul is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has been providing psychotherapeutic and psycho-educational services to children and their families in South Florida for 34 years. As a senior psychometrist he has conducted hundreds of psychoeducational assessments. You can read more about Paul’s background on our website.

Testings. If you are concerned about your child’s school placement, this would be an excellent time to have them evaluated. Typical parent questions have ranged from should their child be retained to whether they are gifted to whether they have a disability that can qualify for accommodations at their school. Our practice does the different types of evaluations to help answer those questions and information about them can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.

Practice Opportunity. We are looking for one to two licensed therapists to join our collegial group practice. They must be experienced and motivated to provide quality behavioral health treatment for a variety of problems and patients. Specialties in child and adolescent treatment, addictions, and relationships are desirable. Being bilingual would be a plus. For further information or interest, email or contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Support groups. Our ongoing weekly therapy groups have been quite successful. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. The group is educational, supportive, and confidential and is limited to 8 people. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Handouts from previous E-Letters can be found on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Giving thanks and appreciating others can have very positive effects. Thankfulness, appreciation, or gratitude all refer to acknowledging and recognizing a benefit that a person has or will receive. Thankfulness requires effort and the effects of thanking someone can bring huge benefits. People just feel good when they are thanked or they are thanking others. Many, many people feel a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction when they help others or donate to a charity and their contributions are recognized and appreciated. Gratitude helps people feel more optimistic, have good experiences, and builds strong relationships.

There is a large body of research on thankfulness. A study by two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough, found that participants who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians. Results from other studies indicate that thankful people have a greater sense of well-being, increased happiness, and lower levels of stress and depression.

Thankful people tend to cope better with life’s transitions and have closer, personal relationships. Thankful people sleep better and longer since they think about more positive and enjoyable things before they fall asleep. Research has also shown that when thanked, people often do chores that they previously avoided. It changes those chores from something they have to do to something that they want to do. Thankful people also appreciate an experience rather than a material item. Ironically, the Thanksgiving Holiday is associated with the biggest shopping days of the year.

Sometimes, it is not easy to give thanks but thankfulness can be developed and increased with simple exercises practiced regularly. The following suggestions can increase thankfulness in your life:

  • Say thank you to others as often as you can
  • Recognize that being thankful is important to your mental and physical health
  • Develop a habit of writing thank you letters or emails once a month to feel happier
  • Reflect upon the good things in your life several times a week
  • Think about those you would like to thank for doing something for you
  • Maintain a thankfulness journal listing the things you appreciate and read it often
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation by focusing on what you are thankful for
  • Pray if you are religious or spiritual

We offer the following information:


Some days we forget to look around us. Some days we can’t see the joy that surrounds us so caught up inside ourselves. We take when we should give.—Josh Groban


  • Giving thanks is the sincere recognition and appreciation for receiving a benefit
  • Giving thanks involves an awareness of something being done for you and an appreciation of it being done
  • Giving thanks is easy for some people but very difficult for others as thankfulness begins when entitlement ends
  • Being thankful helps people focus on what they have instead of what they lack
  • Thankfulness also allows people to connect to something they believe that is larger than themselves such as nature, the universe, a higher power, etc.
  • People who are more thankful tend to have a greater sense of well-being; they are happier, less stressed, less depressed and more socially satisfied
  • People who give thanks also tend to have better coping skills, support others, be more self- accepting, and think more positively
  • Thankfulness is a very strong component in a person’s sense of well-being as multiple studies show a high correlation between giving thanks and feelings of wellbeing
  • Research by two psychologists, Dr. R. Emmons and Dr. M. McCullough, found that students who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic, felt better about their lives, and had fewer physician visits
  • Research has also shown that thankful people exercise more, sleep better, have fewer headaches, have higher levels of energy, and heightened immunity
  • The field of positive psychology recognizes thankfulness as a key component of wellbeing, happiness, increased energy, optimism, and empathy for others
  • Feeling appreciated can make a person want to do more to please others as well as like previously disdainful chores
  • Simple exercises such as saying thank you or writing thank you letters can develop and increase a personal sense of happiness
  • Thankful people often think about enjoyable, positive things before they fall asleep and consequently sleep better and longer
  • Thankful people tend to be less materialistic and appreciate experiences rather than a material good
  • Giving thanks to others leads to improved business and personal relationships, increased physical activity, increased positive feelings, and increased productivity
  • Giving thanks tends to reinforce giving behaviors from benefactors; studies show that saying thanks to a customer increases future sales


      • Think about those you would like to thank for doing something for you
      • Develop a habit of writing a thank you letter or email once a month to feel happier
      • Reflect upon the good things in your life several times a week
      • Maintain a thankfulness journal listing the things you appreciate and read it often
      • Practice mindfulness and meditation by focusing on what you are thankful for
      • Pray if you are religious or spiritual
      • Seek professional help if you find it difficult to practice thankfulness

We Can Help!

Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates 5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101 Coral Springs, Florida 33067

Copyright © 2016; by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

Dr. K’s blog

November 21, 2016

It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.

How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends. Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank Cali S. for the following email:


A person who can’t remember to walk the dog but never forgets a phone number.
A weight watcher who goes on a diet by giving up candy bars before breakfast.
A youngster who receives her allowance on Monday, spends it on Tuesday, and borrows it from her best friend on Wednesday.
Someone who can hear his favorite singer 3 blocks away but not his mother calling from the next room.
A whiz who can operate the latest computer without a lesson but can’t make a bed.
A student who spends 12 minutes studying history and 12 hours studying for her driver’s license.
A connoisseur of 2 kinds of fine music–loud and very loud.
An enthusiast who has the energy to bike for miles but is usually too tired to dry the dishes.
A young woman who loves the cat and tolerates the brother.
A romantic who never falls in love more than once a week.
A budding beauty who never smiles until her braces come off.
A boy who can sleep till noon on any Saturday he suspects the lawn needs mowing.
An original thinker who is positive that her mother was never a teenager

Till December…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2016 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.