“Even in the toughest of times, take a moment to be grateful for small gifts. Gratitude helps make the hard times easier.” ~LMB
Thanksgiving in the United States is a time when people create their menus, take time off, and plan to enjoy a delicious meal with those closest to them. However, this Thanksgiving is different from most. This year, a worldwide pandemic has shut down schools, impacted businesses, and sadly taken lives. Ironically, the core mission for this holiday is gratitude. There are few lessons more valuable (or arguably, more difficult) for all human beings to practice than learning to be grateful.
Finding things to be thankful for is key to managing hard times. If you train your lens to see the struggles and hardships, you will feel weighed down by more adversity, whereas training your lens towards gratitude allows you to feel more gratitude. There are things to be thankful for everywhere when you train your eye to see them:
• A blue sky
• A warm sunny day
• A beautiful tree, grassy field, or snowy mountain
• The sweet feel of a young child’s hand in yours
• The awesome greeting of your adorable dog or purring of your cat
• The kindness of a stranger, love of a family member, or call from a friend
• A funny, kind, or loving memory of a loved one lost
• The taste of a delicious meal, snack, or dessert
The truth is that even in the hardest of times, there are gifts all around us; Take the time to notice and appreciate them. Developing this skill will help you when the hard times come while making the good times even better.
Challenge: Begin to establish a daily gratitude practice. Three times a day, stop and notice (in real-time) the little grateful moments. Name the “gift” out loud (e.g. ‘What an awesome sky’; “Wow, thank goodness for a warm sunny day in November!”; “Awe, I love when my dog greets me with such excitement”). Notice three things a day for three weeks and notice what happens. In the meantime, for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, may you have a wonderful day filled with great food, warm connections, and much laughter. And may everyone have a wonderful week filled with gratitude.