Culture shock and the art of being thankful

Like everyone else, I have had challenging times over the years. I have had many ups, but also downs. During one "down" time, I noticed a colleague was posting things online each day that he was thankful for. I decided to follow suit and posted things I was thankful for for the 27 days leading up to Thanksgiving that year. Reflecting on things I was thankful for helped change my perspective and definitely helped me get through that trying time. 

When relocating to China in August 2012, I was "forced" to readopted this "attitude of gratitude."

Culture shock is definitely not a fun experience especially in a country that is completely different: the language, the food, the way of thinking, how things are generally done. Having lived in China before (2004 and 2005), the honeymoon stage of culture shock this time was short-lived. The frustration stage lasted much longer than I had anticipated. "I have lived here before," I thought, "I should be adjusting much quicker!" One reason for this longer than anticipated frustration stage was that when I first lived in China I was single and lived a bachelor lifestyle. Now, I was in China with my family. Adjusting to China as a husband and father was a different experience to when I first lived in China as that mister-single-do-what-you-like guy.

I have now moved out of the frustration stage and into the adjustment stage (I have no doubt that I will have some frustrating moments in the weeks and months ahead, but they will not be the "trend" anymore). A thankful heart has been a huge help in moving me forward. Yes, there are many things to be frustrated about here in China, but there are more things to be thankful for. I just have to take a few moments to stop and think about all the good things in our lives. I am looking forward to moving through the adjustment stage and to the final stage of culture shock: mastery.

What are you thankful for today? If you are going through a challenging time in your life, I encourage you to develop a daily habit of reflecting on what you are thankful for. Write down what you are thankful for i.e., start a thankful journal.

With something to think about,


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