With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, now is the time for each of us to pause and consider the many things that we are thankful for in our lives. While we have been torn from loved ones for months, faced work and health challenges directly and through others, and lost people we love and care deeply for: there are always ways to look for goodness, thanks, gratitude and hope in our lives.
Unequivocally, 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone in the United States, and throughout the world. While life is always fraught with challenges, this year COVID, and the global pandemic brought each of us changes in how we live, communicate, work and think. Yet with everything we have lived through, the sun has risen and set each day, offering hope. We have learned a great deal about ourselves these past months. While none of us has ever lived through a pandemic before, they have challenged the world throughout history.
Though changed, and seeing our lives altered, we have adjusted, we have become vigilant in working to live our lives responsibly, and socially distant. Masks have now become the new accessory item in our daily wardrobe, something that at the beginning of 2020, we would not have thought remotely imaginable.
There are some things we are always in control of in our lives, and one of these is your attitude. Have an attitude of gratitude and an attitude that is worth catching. We do have choices in life and having an attitude of gratitude is one of them. Sometimes people become bogged down with negativity. The more negative you feel and are, and the more you surround yourself with negative thoughts and people, the further and deeper your negativity becomes.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, a feeling of appreciation for what we have, whether tangible or intangible. It is acknowledging what’s good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. As you express thanks and gratitude, you may feel lighter, more at peace, and happier. Gratitude has a direct correlation to happiness and joy. Practicing and verbally expressing gratitude leads to more joy without a lot of effort. It’s easy to be happy when you’re grateful.
Here is something easy, and yet very effective that you can incorporate into your daily life. Each morning verbally express even if just to yourself, 3 things that you are grateful for. They can be small or large, they are your choice. Starting your day in this manner begins your day with a positive mindset, which is the other thing that you are completely in control of. At the end of your day as you get into bed, reflect on 3 things that you were thankful for during the day. Again they can be small or large, they are yours and for you only. As you reflect and express them to yourself, you will find that this small act at the end of your day has tremendous impact, in that it relaxes your mind, clears your head and sets you up for a more restful sleep.
This year at your Thanksgiving table, add gratitude. Here are a few ideas.
1. Have each person verbally express one thing they are grateful and thankful for.
2. During your cocktail time before dinner, have everyone write down something they are thankful for and have them fold their response and put them in a basket. When everyone is seated you can pass the basket. Each guest unfolds a response and reads it. This way everyone can remain anonymous, should they wish.
3. Going in a circle around the table going clockwise, have each person express a sentence of gratitude about the person on their left and go around the table.
Each of these is simple, cost nothing and yet can add greater dimension and meaning to your Thanksgiving dinner. They can easily be adapted if you are zooming in family or friends. You can easily incorporate them as new Thanksgiving holiday traditions.
Bottom line, life is never easy all the time, the road is not straight and the weather is never perfect. It is what challenges us that makes us stronger, builds our character and helps us to truly appreciate and treasure the many gifts in our lives. Finding the positive during troubling challenging times and everyday helps us to weather the storms and have deeper thanks, appreciation and gratitude for everything that is part of our life and who we are.
Celebrate this Thanksgiving and holiday season with an open mind and grateful heart. Let goodness and kindness prevail. Each day we wake up is a gift to be celebrated, treasured and appreciated in our hearts.