Giving Thanks after Thanksgiving: The Real Role of Gratitude

Between the months of October and November, the United States and Canada celebrate “Thanksgiving” – the  holiday seemingly designed for uncomfortable conversations with in-laws and turkey (or Tofurky), garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie and giblet gravy.

The original reasons for “Thanks Giving” celebrations are various; from Martin Frobisher surviving his voyage from England to discover a Northern Passage to the Pacific, or the Pilgrims of Plymouth celebrating an especially good harvest in 1621, to  the many many “harvest” celebrations in gratitude for the bounty of the season.

Thanksgiving dinner is over, but Thanks-Giving is also an act that we would all do well to inspire on days that don’t include snapping wishbones or football comas.  Giving Thanks and being grateful for what we have, observing the good things in our lives and thinking about what we care about is one of the fastest and surest ways to attract more success and abundance in our lives.  Being content and valuing what is HERE NOW is one of the most powerful things we can do to take care of those things which are truly important to us.

Gratitude reduces pain, fear and stress in ourselves and others.   We spend most of our lives focusing on what DOESN’T work, what we’re scared of, what we don’t like, what we don’t want to happen that we spend little time reflecting on what is true in the moment.

thank-youThanks gets a bad rap. We often equate gratitude and acceptance with being weak and accepting things at a state less than what we wish them to be. This is not true.

Instead, being grateful and appreciating what we have (or accepting what is happening around us) are like magic goggles that help us see how to create the best change for ourselves, our family, community and world.

Things don’t have to be perfect in order for us to give thanks or feel gratitude.  Being thankful for finding humble shelter (even if it’s not your dream home) doesn’t mean that you can’t move into a mansion one day, nor does it mean you can’t make your little abode nicer.

There are some practical benefits to gratitude and giving thanks:


1) We can form new positive perspectives about our reality.

Trouble at work? Problems with the kids? Weeds in the garden? We can be grateful that we have a job and an income, that our children are alive and safe, and that we have a home and a place to plant a garden.   Gratitude gives us perspective about what is REALLY important in our lives.  I once spoke to a homeless man who had (seemingly) nothing to be thankful for and he told me that he was thankful for meeting new people every day and for being able to come up with new poetry on long morning walks. Such sobering gratitude made me think long and hard about the little things and dramas that seem SO important but really are not in the big picture of life.

2)  We can remember and focus on the GOOD THINGS we easily forget in the hubbub of life.

We can reflect on the people that stood by us, gave us a hug when we needed it the most, our new puppy who did the cutest thing, the best cinnamon roll we had, the clean smelling rainy day — the GOOD things in our lives. And yes, every life has GOOD things in it that we can take stock of! Thinking about those good things helps you attract and resonate positives.

3)  We can EXPRESS thanks to other people.

and thank them for being in our lives or even for pumping our gas or giving us a receipt. Making eye contact, saying “THANK YOU” and appreciating someone is something we can do for free, that takes not a second of thought, which – if heart-felt and sincere can change your day for the better and change someone’s day. Believe it.

4)  Gratitude is good for us.

In a study done at the University of California Davis, (Emmons Lab) scientists studying the effect of gratitude on human health and well being conducted a study of hundreds of participants divided into two groups; one asked to keep a journal of things that made them upset and another group a journal of things they were grateful for. The gratitude group reported decreased depression, more energy, more alertness and a greater level of willingness to connect to and help others and achieve personal goals.

Make gratitude your EVERYDAY project, not just when the gravy is flowing and every area of your life, your wallet, your family, your heart – will THANK YOU.


© 2015 Willow Brilliance in Sight/Psychic Scoop
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