Here in the United States, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday. In addition to eating lots of food and being with family and friends, it's a holiday where we also discuss what we are grateful for each year. How we share that information in my family changes from year to year. Some years we have everyone go around the table and say what they are grateful for that year.
Sometimes the answers aren’t what you expect- like when my 6th grader said she was grateful for her French teacher!
One year, for a particularly large Thanksgiving, get-together, we created a yarn “turkey” and had everyone write what they were thankful for on the paper “feathers” which they then placed on the turkey as they entered. We read them out loud during dessert and asked each person to tell us a little about what they shared. My favorite that year was my father being thankful for 48 years of marriage to my mom.
This year there are only seven of us so we will go back to taking time out of our meal to discuss. We’re already thinking about what we’re going to share and I’m wondering what surprises I might hear from my kids- and myself- this year.
It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack. ~ Germany Kent
It is true that focusing on what you are grateful for takes your focus off the negative, including what you may be lacking. This yearly prompt to reflect on what you are grateful for provides an outlet for focusing on this positive note.
Consistently practicing gratitude has a lot of benefits, so this year I’d like to challenge you...
...consider practicing Thankful Thursdays not once a year but throughout the year.
The Benefits of Gratitude
Positivepsycology.com published an article called 28 Benefits of Gratitude & Most Significant Research Findings. I encourage you to read it here:
Some of the key findings in this article about the benefits of gratitude include:
… journaling for five minutes a day about what we are grateful for can enhance our long-term happiness by over 10%.
…a high level of gratitude has a strong positive impact on psychological well-being, self-esteem, and depression.
…those who are more grateful have access to more social support.
…gratitude at work can have a significant impact on staff mental health, stress, and turnover.
Does this information surprise you? Did you think that gratitude – something within your control to do when you like- could have so many benefits?
Incorporating Gratefulness In Your Life
Always have an attitude of gratitude. ~ Sterling K. Brown
I don’t expect you to turn every Thursday into a Thanksgiving level of thankfulness, but setting aside a few Thursdays a month, quarter, or year to focus on gratitude can be a start to incorporating it into your life.
1. The first step is to commit to setting aside the time to do this by putting Thankful Thursdays on your calendar.
2. The next step is to set aside time on your Thankful Thursday to think about what you are grateful for much as we do in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. **You might want to keep notes about items you are grateful for if there is a big gap between your Thankful Thursdays.
3. After your period of reflection, write down a list of what you are grateful for at that moment in your life.
4. Then, take it one step further by listing 2-3 reasons you are thankful for that item. For instance, you might be grateful for your job- but why are you grateful for it? By asking why you may realize that not only does it provide you with the money to live, but it also provides you a sense of accomplishment and the opportunity to grow and learn.
Consider having a special notebook set aside for your Thankful Thursdays so that you can reflect back on what you have listed on previous days. And then next year consider using the fourth Thursday in November as a Thankful Thursday to review an entire year’s worth of gratefulness!
* Actionable Success Steps
Use these Actionable Success Steps to increase your gratefulness practice in addition to some of the steps mentioned above.
Choose when you want to have your Thankful Thursdays and commit to them by scheduling them in your calendar.
For each Thankful Thursday, do the following:
Take 15 minutes to concentrate on what you are thankful for that day while you sit quietly or take a walk.
Write a list of what you are thankful for and list 2-3 reasons why.
Review past lists you’ve made and note any changes you notice.
The Growth Group Academy currently provides instruction to strengthen your success skills. Gratitude can also help you strengthen your resilience to help us prepare for future changes. Check out our Sustaining Resilience course by clicking here.