We're all well aware of the intentions behind the Thanksgiving holiday. The name says it all: it's a day to give thanks and appreciate the abundance we live in. Many of us share a meal with family or friends to celebrate and observe various traditions that are meaningful to us.
But how often do you pause to think about what you're grateful for?
On Thanksgiving, we're often pretty distracted that day for one reason or another. It's not surprising that the day goes by without it having occurred to us to actually think about gratitude and honor the good in our lives.
Whether you're cooking, catching up with family, having fun with friends, or watching football, the holiday may have taken on a completely different purpose and meaning (unintentionally). Or maybe you've never actually stopped to think about what it's really all about. That's okay.
This year, though, it's particularly important to be mindful of how important gratitude can be. It's been a difficult year for everyone.
It may not seem like a very big deal, but gratitude sometimes has the power to completely transform how you feel. Research shows that practicing gratitude can actually generate greater happiness when you take notice of good experiences and appreciate things or relationships you may otherwise take for granted.
Gratitude has so many dimensions. You can show gratitude toward yourself, others, a higher power, or even the earth. You can be thankful for anything; past, present, or future. You can be grateful for things and relationships, or something like a good feeling that isn't necessarily of the physical world.
You might express it simply as a mental note, or you can write in a gratitude journal. Some people like to make a list. Others may choose to use their mobile devices to record their gratitude. Writing someone a letter or just saying "thank you" with sincerity counts, too. There are so many ways to cultivate gratitude in your life and generate more positivity in the world that surrounds you. There is no right or wrong way. Choose how you want to do it based on what seems best for you, what feels natural and effective.
For the biggest impact, make gratitude a daily habit. If that's too much to start, try setting a reminder to do it weekly, or use the mobile reminder that Take 2 Minutes offers. Set aside just a few brief moments to revel in whatever is good in your life.
Even if it's just for one day, though, it's worth your time. Gratitude is an underrated superpower that can only benefit both your physical and mental health. Science has repeatedly found it to be effective in combating circumstantial mental health issues like depression and anxiety (though if your condition is chronic you should also speak with a doctor).
What do you have to lose? It doesn't take up much of your time, and you could see immense benefits from simply appreciating what is.
If it's not already a part of your daily routine, set a goal to practice gratitude this Thanksgiving holiday. It's the perfect opportunity to start.