I love Thanksgiving so much it vies for first place in my favorite holiday lineup. I love and adore a classic Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. I love the fall weather, which always accompanies the day. I love the fact that Thanksgiving ushers in the winter holidays, offering me a front-row seat at the very best time of the year.
I love all of those things. In fact, I kinda’ wish that every day were Thanksgiving! Gratitude is too important in our lives to be considered briefly on this, the fourth Thursday of November.
This has been another challenging year. The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down. The political climate and global unrest have turned our world upside down. My heart breaks for those of you who have lost a loved one, a friend, a colleague. I know that many of you are struggling with financial stress due to inflation, a layoff or reduced hours, or lost clients.
Even in the face of such heartache, challenge, and uncertainty, I am more convinced than ever that giving thanks and counting our blessings is good for us. It reminds us of the positive things in life. Gratitude turns bad things into good things, takes our eyes off ourselves, and reminds us to thank others.
Just imagine what might happen if our annual single-day tradition of giving thanks were to become a daily routine? Health professionals suggest we would be rewarded with better health, as medical science reveals more about the strong connection between gratitude and good health.
And just as strong is the fact that stress can make us sick. It’s linked to heart disease and cancer. Shockingly, stress is responsible for up to 90% of all doctor visits. Just think about the financial costs associated with stress-related maladies. The antidote for stress is gratitude, as it calms our minds and lowers our blood pressure. Then, we are able to see our circumstances in a fresh, new light.
Even in the face of tremendous loss or tragedy, it’s possible to feel gratitude. Adversity can actually boost feelings of gratitude, a phenomenon that many of us have experienced the tremendous loss of this year, in light of what we still possess.
You don’t have to wait for a tragedy to grow your feelings of gratitude. You can start today with something as simple as a gratitude journal. Research shows that people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis feel better about their lives as a whole exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, and maintain greater optimism about the future.
Perhaps you’re wondering what to be grateful for.
Be thankful that you don’t have everything you desire. If you did, you would have nothing to look forward to.
Be thankful for the difficult people you have to work with. They are improving your patience and understanding.
Be thankful when you don’t know something because it gives you the opportunity to learn. Be thankful for difficult times, because it’s in times of hardship that you grow
Be thankful when you’re exhausted at the end of a day because you know you’ve accomplished something.
What do I give thanks for, privately, in my own gratitude sessions? It varies every day. I thank my readers for the encouragement they give me by reading this column. I thank my family and friends for all they do for me.
Every day I thank God for this life he’s given me. I thank people I know around the world for the things they’re doing out of personal sacrifice to make the world better.
Choose to be grateful today—and every day—for all that you have. Gratitude will fill your heart with contentment. And best of all? Gratitude is 100% free, in any amount you desire.