Thanksgiving: Practicing Gratitude Every Day

Thanksgiving is normally a holiday that many people look forward to because of its lack of focus on materialism and its emphasis on giving thanks. Every year my girlfriends and I have a “Thanks-For-Good-Friends-Giving” potluck dinner where we give thanks for our friendship. The name of this event alone makes me think about how grateful I am for my friends. It really is a time to connect, reflect, and feel appreciation for friendship and support. I often feel grateful for my friendships but probably not as often as I should. Thanksgiving is a great reminder but what about all the other days of the year?

Thanksgiving generally is a time for people to count their blessings and there really is no other holiday where the focus is simply on gratitude. A conversation with a client today reminded me of how often we lose sight of our blessings and how hard it is to remember what we are grateful for on a daily basis Everything is relative and although we intellectually know we have a lot to be grateful for, it doesn’t always click for us the way we’d like it to.

There are many studies done on happiness and its relation to gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal and writing in it daily is a good way to infuse each day with a little bit of gratitude. If you take the time to write down at least one thing you are grateful for that day and practice doing that every day, it trains your mind to look for the positive instead of the negative. It’s very common for us to focus on the negative and what’s wrong because we want to fix the problem. We think that if we fix what’s wrong we will be happy or we will have one less thing to worry about. The problem with this type of thinking is there will always be things to worry about and we lose sight of all the positives when we are busy dwelling on the negatives or trying to fix them.

Try consciously thinking about at least one thing you are grateful on a daily basis and see if it helps your perspective. Think about your blessings not only on Thanksgiving but every day and maybe it will boost your overall mood.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!