by Lynette Silva
Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday! It’s a day all about food, family and gratitude. There’s no commercialization of the holiday, the weather generally cooperates for a nice day (though not this year in New England), and all that good food tends to put people in a good mood, too.
But the thing I, well, appreciate about Thanksgiving most is the sharing of gratitude. We make it a point to say what we’re grateful for during or meal. The discussion can be far ranging as everyone gets an equal say, even the 5-year-old twin cousins. Some of what we’re grateful for are material things, but mostly we all express our gratitude for each other or others in our life who had a significant impact in the last year. Often, the sad is wrapped up with the joyous, but we are all lifted up by the sharing of gratitude.
I will admit to needing to jot down my “gratitude markers” as I wait my turn to share. Things shared by others often remind me of more things I’m grateful for myself, and so my list grows. I’ve taken to writing my thoughts down on the paper tablecloth next to my plate. That’s why a pen has become my most important Thanksgiving utensil.
I thought I was innovative (or at least remarkably efficient) until I saw this very recommendation in Huffington Post. In fact, my writing down my thoughts serves not just as a jog to my memory, but a way to increase my feeling gratitude overall. From the article:
“Just this small stunt — the physical action of jotting down a couple of things you’re happy to have in your life — has been shown to reinforce happy thoughts. Our brains have a tendency to focus on the negative, so this action helps to stop our thoughts from going down a dark path and bring them back on a happy trail.”
Writing down our gratitude for and about others helps us as much as it helps them. Take a minute today to express your gratitude for those you work with every day. Then, this Thanksgiving, do the same for your family and friends.
This Thanksgiving, I’m particularly grateful for having my mother with us, for good health among those I love after a difficult medical year, and for the joy of family and friends.
What’s on your gratitude list?