Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks!

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 10, Number 11

November is the official month for giving thanks. Among the huge barrage of ads for Black Friday sales, the Thanksgiving Holiday seems almost inconsequential. It is really the time for family to be together and for all of us to truly give thanks for the blessings we have here in America. Despite the fear and terror that is rampant in the world, we are blessed where we live and we must remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. Take a moment or two on Thanksgiving to give thanks for what we have and to those who safeguard our values. It will make you feel better.

This month’s E-Letter focuses on Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks. Our email of the month is about The Golden Years and our Ask the Doc question is about anger. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the many comments we have received through our 10 years of E-Letters.

Practice News

Depression groups. Our ongoing weekly depression therapy groups meet regularly in our office. 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. A third and fourth group will be starting soon. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Eating Disorders Support Group. We are in the process of developing a support group for women ages 18-30 who are in recovery from an eating disorder. This group will work in conjunction with the patient’s treatment team to strengthen their recovery. The group will be led by Dr. Terry Newell and we are planning to begin in January. If you are interested in participating, please call Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Afterschool Tutoring. We are pleased to announce that we will be offering tutoring for students in grades 1 through 8 after school in our offices. Jill Kimmel, who is an experienced educator, will be helping students to understand and learn their academic concepts as well as provide assistance in doing homework. To find out more about our tutoring services as well as to schedule an appointment, 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.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on the positive effects of giving thanks and appreciating others. 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 better when they are thanked or they are thanking others. Many, many people feel a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction when they donate to a charity and their contributions are recognized and appreciated. Gratitude helps people feel more optimistic, have good experiences, improve their health, and build strong relationships.

The concept of gratitude has been the cornerstone of many religions. People often thank a deity or the universe for being alive or for what they have received. This appreciation can lead to good feelings as well as a sense of humility. It is one of the most common behaviors found in value systems and demonstrates respect for others.

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. Studies have shown that thankful people sleep better and longer since they tend to 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. Consider the difficulty in saying no to a salesman who demonstrates gratitude to you. Studies have shown that by thanking the customer, sales increase. Waiter’s tips also increase when thank you is written on the bill. Thankful people also tend to be less materialistic. They seem to appreciate an experience rather than a material item. Ironically, the Thanksgiving Holiday is associated with the biggest shopping days of the year.

Summing up, there are many reasons for giving thanks to others. Besides the health benefits, being grateful is good for you mentally. Being thankful can make you optimistic about life and just feel good emotionally. It can make you feel more hopeful and more connected to others. It can lead to better academic and work performance based on a greater motivation to do the task. It can improve relationships as showing gratitude to another makes them feel important. Being thankful can help you sleep better, improve you immune system, benefit your heart, and decrease your stress.

Thankfulness can be developed and increased with simple exercises practiced regularly. The following are suggestions to increase thankfulness in your life:

  • Recognize that being thankful is important to your mental and physical health
  • Develop a habit of writing a 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 on Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks!:


    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
      • WHAT TO DO!

        • 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 © 2015; by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

          As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

          Ask The Doc

          SF writes: I find myself getting angry very quickly and easily. I fly off the handle at almost everybody but I never used to. My husband avoids me and my daughters cut their phone conversations short. I feel fine but am just angry. I have felt this way for about 6 months and just don’t understand it Can you help?

          Dr. Joel Kimmel responds: To understand why you have recently become angry, you need to ask yourself some questions first. Have you had any medical events in the past 6 months? Have you been put on or changed any medications? Have there been any hormonal changes? Have there been any changes in your living circumstances that might be upsetting you?

          If your answer to these questions is no, then your anger is probably due to some irrational thoughts. Anger is a normal human emotion that often gets mishandled. Anger generally comes from some type of “should” or “must” thoughts such as ”things must go my way” or they shouldn’t have done that. Anger is usually a reaction to feeling unfairly treated.

          Having said all that, the next question is how you handle your anger. Some people express it appropriately by being assertive. Others may become aggressive. Some tend to suppress it until there is usually some blow up. Suppressing it can also lead to depression. Others, I think like you, just remain angry and then little events set off strong angry reactions. This tends to push others away and keep them at a distance.

          So I would suggest that you try to identify your “should” or “must” thoughts and change them. Also, consider whether you feel that someone has mistreated you or treated you unfairly. If you can identify this situation, try to understand whether you were truly mistreated and why. Was it intentional? Was the person trying to hurt you or is it a misunderstanding? Recognizing that it wasn’t intentional will probably lessen your anger. Also consider whether the situation is important enough to upset you. If so, try an assertive remedy. If not, just let it go, realizing that you have made the decision not to let it bother you anymore.

          Email of the Month

          We thank Al H. for the following email:


          Some of us have reached our golden years, and some of us have not. But these suggestions should be read by everyone. They have been collected from many a senior, each with his or her own piece of advice. Some you know, some may surprise you, and some will remind you of what’s important. So read well, share with your loved ones, and have a great day and a great life!

          1. It’s time to use the money you saved up. Use it and enjoy it. Don’t just keep it for those who may have no notion of the sacrifices you made to get it. Remember there is nothing more dangerous than a son or daughter-in-law with big ideas for your hard earned capital. Warning: This is also a bad time for an investment, even if it seems wonderful or fool-proof. They only bring problems and worries and this is a time for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.

          2. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren, and don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their own money.

          3. Keep a healthy life, without great physical effort. Do moderate exercise (like walking every day), eat well and get your sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. That is why you need to keep yourself in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. Keep in touch with your doctor; get tested even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

          4. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other. The key goal is to enjoy your money with your partner. One day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then, enjoy it together.

          5. Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

          6. Regardless of age, always keep love alive. Love your partner, love life, love your family, love your neighbor and remember: “A man is not old as long as he has intelligence and affection.”

          7. Be proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, do your nails, go to the dermatologist and the dentist, keep your perfumes and creams well stocked. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it seeps in, making you feel proud and strong.

          8. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing worse than an older person trying to wear the current fashion among youngsters. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you – keep it and be proud of it. It’s part of who you are.

          9. ALWAYS stay up-to-date. Read newspapers, watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised which old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what is going on and with the people you know is important at any age.

          10. Respect the younger generation and their opinions. They may not have the same ideals as you, but they are the future, and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them of yesterday’s wisdom that still applies today.

          11. Never use the phrase: “In my time”. Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You may have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.

          12. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days on the latter. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.

          13. Do not surrender to the temptation of living with your children or grandchildren (if you have a financial choice, that is). Sure, being surrounded by family sounds great, but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your partner (our deepest condolences), then find a person to move in with you and help out. Even then, do so only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.

          14. Don’t abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, make new ones. You can travel, hike, cook, read, and dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer at an NGO or just collect certain items. Find something you like and spend some real time having fun with it.

          15. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences. Try to go. Get out of the house, meet people you haven’t seen in a while, experience something new (or something old). But don’t get upset when you’re not invited. Some events are limited by resources, and not everyone can be hosted. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Go to museums, go walk through a field. Get out there.

          16. Be a conversationalist. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of reducing their desire to speak with you. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much unless you really need to. Try to accept situations as they are. Everyone is going through the same things, and people have a low tolerance for hearing complaints. Always find some good things to say as well.

          17. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

          18. If you’ve been offended by someone – forgive them. If you’ve offended someone – apologize. Don’t drag around resentment with you. It only serves to make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said: “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive, forget and move on with your life.

          19. If you have a strong belief, savor it. But don’t waste your time trying to convince others. They will make their own choices no matter what you tell them, and it will only bring you frustration. Live your faith and set an example. Live true to your beliefs and let that memory sway them.

          20. Laugh. Laugh A LOT. Laugh at everything. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. So what’s not to laugh about? Find the humor in your situation.

          21. Take no notice of what others say about you and even less notice of what they might be thinking. They’ll do it anyway, and you should have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Let them talk and don’t worry. They have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to be at rest, at peace and as happy as you can be!

          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.

          If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to requesting to be removed from this list.
          If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2015 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.