Beyond Thanksgiving: Your Next Stop...
No, I'm not talking about the next holiday. Thanksgiving always comes up to us reminding us to consider what it is in life that we are grateful for. But why even do this?
In an earlier blog post I wrote about the benefits of counting our blessings over our burdens. Robert Emmons and Michael McCollough (2003) conducted research that showed stress reduction and increases in various areas of well-being for those who actually did count their blessings. He's even written some books on the topic, one of them being Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
So what is this ritual of being grateful?
Can Thanksgiving really just be a state of mind?
The answer is yes, but it takes practice, like anything else.
So what can we do?
- Choose a time of the day, for many people it is either the morning, the dinner table or before they lie down at night.
- Consider 5 things in your life that you're grateful for.
- Write them down or tell them to a friend or loved one.
Note: Remember, you're not doing this for the purpose of stress reduction or for well-being, but really to begin laying down the tracks for new neural pathways in your brain so gratitude can be more accessible to you during difficult moments as well.
This can eventually serve as a buffer to stress and a path toward resiliency during difficult times.
So bring thanksgiving into this New Year with this short and simple practice.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories, and questions below. Your interactions here provide a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.