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Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is here and what a wonderful holiday it is. The idea of Thanksgiving is a powerful and should not be underestimated. We need a reminder to be thankful for what we have. Yes, we can always want more but happiness is not really found in the having more, and unhappiness is found in the wanting more. With Christmas upon us, and the shopping frenzy that goes with it, it is essential to remember this.

Most of us have a lot for which to be thankful. The abundance of food, fresh, clean water at our fingertips, a roof over our heads, heating and air conditioning – the list goes on and on. But to truly appreciate what we have, we shouldn’t just save our gratitude for one day per year. We should be giving thanks on a daily basis. This doesn’t have to be thanks to God…but of course this is great to do if this fits with your religious beliefs.

If we bring an “attitude of gratitude” with us every day, we will significantly improve our level of happiness. There is a tremendous amount of research that indicates that keeping a gratitude journal will increase our sense of well-being. Just list 3-5 things for which you are thankful on a daily basis – these don’t have to be long, flowery paragraphs about your day. A short list of 3-5 items will do (e.g., Had a great visit with Tom, found a beautiful sea shell on the beach, my commute to work went smoothly).

As you do this, you will notice that your mind begins to perceive more positives as they happen. Instead of seeing how things are going bad…what’s missing, how this or that is unfair, and so on, you will begin to see that there are so many things for which to be thankful in your day. Having a day of giving thanks is a wonderful thing, but if you practice this every day, you will really experience the benefits…as will the people around you.

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