Thanksgiving - a day to reflect and share with family and friends the blessings that saturate our lives.
While beliefs and traditions about how this holiday is celebrated may differ, one Thanksgiving truth that has held true over centuries is gratitude. On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks.
Yet what if every day we begin with a mindset of gratitude? Just think what a positive effect this might have on our relationships and our world.
Practicing gratitude is not always easy to access because we have a negativity bias. The mind naturally pulls toward the negative so it's good to be aware of this in order to develop our gratitude muscle and train it to notice the positive.
We can start by noticing what is working in our lives such as our family and friends, the people that make us laugh, build us up, brighten our lives. We can find gratitude in our health even if we have physical limitations. We can give thanks for our sight, hearing, taste. We can give gratitude for the sanctuary and safety of our home, warm, delicious meals. We can give thanks for our hobbies, passions, our career if we have one. We can even find gratitude in the pain and loss in our lives that have helped us to become stronger and taught us to become more resilient and helped us to become the people that we are today. There is always something to be grateful if we look for it and take the time to acknowledge.
My daily gratitude practice begins upon awakening before I even open my eyes. I take in a long, deep breath while silently reciting, "Thank you, God for this brand new day!” For as little as 2 minutes, I acknowledge something as simple as the warm, soft blankets wrapped around my body and have kept me cozy all night, for the stillness that fills the room, for the present moment. I have not yet opened my eyes, yet a calm presence flows over me and sets a positive mood for the day.
Research has proven that a regular gratitude practice can rewire your brain and body for positive health by increasing dopamine, decreasing pain, inducing better sleep, reducing depression, anxiety, and stress.
A regular daily gratitude practice rewards relationship, careers and increases energy levels. Gratitude is where we acknowledge and manifest abundance.
Take a moment to reflect and appreciate the simple things you are blessed with every day. Start small. Practice daily. Find things to be grateful for in all you do and in all the people you encounter.
Give it a try. Your entire body, mind and spirit will benefit.
Happy Thanksgiving! May today and every day be truly blessed!