“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous
Also: “Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette
I love these quotes, especially the last one. More and more it is being shown that those that practice regular gratitude are happier and emotionally healthier.
Doesn’t it just feel good? When you are more grateful for the things around you, it is easier to see the joy in the little things. That is what leads to a happier, more cheerful mindset.
I love Thanksgiving. The food. The togetherness. The not needing to buy a ton of presents. (We also have 5 birthdays in our immediately family in December, including a birthday party to host. So, our wallets love November!) Thanksgiving is just really special. Origins of the holiday aside, I think it is so restorative to have an entire day dedicated to being more grateful.
Imagine how sweet life would be if you did this on a daily basis! How much happier would you feel if you took Thanksgiving as an opportunity to begin practicing gratitude and let it carry forth from then on into your daily life?
History of Thanksgiving
What is Thanksgiving? Why do we even celebrate it in the first place?
Here are some interesting facts:
Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
It originated as a harvest festival.
Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, and its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)
What I love about Thanksgiving
I really love Thanksgiving. Dubious history aside (really not looking for arguments here), it is probably my favorite holiday.
There’s no pressure of gift giving. No manic decorating. Just friends and family seated around a delicious meal, reminiscing about the past year and what they’re thankful for. Some people go nuts and make it into this big elaborate production, but it really doesn’t need to be.
Just a table filled with loved ones and tasty food and kind words.
I think that’s really lovely.
Benefits of gratitude
Practicing daily gratitude has been proven to be beneficial for your mental health. (And physical health too!)
According to one Forbes article, an attitude of gratitude has tons of benefits.
- Gratitude helps you make friends! Grateful people tend to be kinder and more pleasant to be around, so that often leads to more relationships in your life.
- It improves your health. Grateful people often feel better physically, and they are more likely to take care of themselves.
- It improves our mental health by helping us weed through negative emotions and guiding us through periods of depression.
For more benefits, see the full article but it really is astounding that something as simple as being more grateful can affect your health so much!
Things I am grateful for this year
Not going to lie. This year has been very challenging for me. I’ve probably had more medical tests in 2019 than in the previous 33 years of my life combined.
I’ve been tired. Sad. Anxious. I’ve begun unloading some emotional baggage that I’ve carried for a very long time.
Despite all that, I still have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a short list that I hope will inspire you to come up with a list of your own.
- I am so grateful for a supportive, patient spouse. Without him, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to dig deep emotionally this year and free myself of years long bondage.
- I’m grateful for my healthy, kind, happy kids. For all the frustrations that parenting brings, they are the purest, most unadulterated joy I have ever known.
- Health wise, I am grateful for my innate drive to be healthy, and to seek answers. There were so many times I could have given up this year and I didn’t.
- I’m grateful for my sister, whose kind and generous heart has been a source of comfort for me this year.
- I’m grateful for my parents and my mother in law who have been massively helpful with my kids. My illness has left me tired, depressed, and often needing back up.
I really recommend journaling. You can use the image above as a jumping off point for what to write about. Column 1 is a brain dump section. Just get out all the negative emotions you might be feeling, whether they make sense or not. In column 2, write down all the things you are grateful for. In column 3, you can make a list of goals for your emotional or physical health, areas you would like to be more grateful in.
Here are a couple more good tools to get you started:
I hope this post left you inspired to be grateful today. Not only that, I hope you make the commitment to practice gratitude on a daily basis. The benefits are enormous, and it will rub off on those around you. Happy holidays!
What are you thankful for this year? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
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