As we begin the week of Thanksgiving, we often think about what we may be thankful for. We have a lot to be thankful for, so it is a good time for reflection. Over the last few years, I have heard a lot of negativities around Thanksgiving. The political and social world tends to make out Thanksgiving as this horrible holiday. I don’t really want to talk about the holiday itself, but more about gratitude in general. I like to think of Thanksgiving as a time to give thanks for what we have in our life, our families, our experiences and the existence we have here on earth.
In a Harvard Study, this phase quickly sums up why I want to talk about gratitude. “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier#:~:text=In%20positive%20psychology%20research%2C%20gratitude,adversity%2C%20and%20build%20strong%20relationships.
Gratitude is one of the very important factors in us striving to remain happy. When we openly express gratitude in our lives, we draw in more positive vibes. Think about the people you know and notice how much more positive you feel around people that are positive, happy and grateful for what they have. Then think about that people you are around that are always down, negative and the victim of everything. It makes it very easy for us to see how these differences affect our own wellbeing.
Now think about how you want to be seen by the people you deal with every day. Do you want to be uplifting, positive and greatful? Or do you want to be that negative person that drags everyone down? Personally, I want to be on the positive side, does that mean that I am always that person? No, it takes work. But I have found that the more I put positive and greatful thoughts in my life the easier it is to be that uplifting person.
There can be a lot of personal benefits of having gratitude. I read this article the other day and I thought this was great. “Expressing gratitude is associated with a host of mental and physical benefits. Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain and risk of disease.” https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/can-expressing-gratitude-improve-health#:~:text=Expressing%20gratitude%20is%20associated%20with,everyone%20would%20be%20taking%20it.
So, doesn’t this sound like something good we should have in our lives? I look at my life over the past 60 years and I can see times when I wasn’t very greatful, I was definatly more negative, and I think I struggled more during those times. I also have had times of regret, but I don’t think we can have regret and gratitude at the same time. I have had to turn my regrets around and view the positive side of something I may regret. There is usually something we learned, from a time, we may have regretted in our life. I really like to think that we can find something positive in every day and have gratitude for what we have.
As we start this week of Thanksgiving, I am greatful for my sweet and beautiful wife, all my kids, for all my siblings and parents. I am greatful that I live in this beautiful place, for the home that I have and the job that allows me to provide for all of this for my family. I am greatful for all I have learned to help me improve my health. I have a lot of gratitude in general for the great things this world provides me. Take the time this week to write down what you are greatful for, what provides you positive experiences and what lifts you up in your daily life.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving, your family and all that life provides you!
Another great article on Gratitude! https://open.substack.com/pub/michaeleaster/p/the-true-science-of-gratitude?r=2di3fj&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post