Practicing Gratitude for Thanksgiving and Beyond
I know everyone – including me – is busily planning for the holidays, associated festivities, and cooking up a storm, but I want to take a moment to pause and share some sentiments with everyone.
I am not really the type of person to make a performative statement or trite remarks for a singular event such as for a holiday like Thanksgiving. I believe wholeheartedly in trying to weave in the practice of gratitude on a regular basis, whether it’s coming from consciously feeling appreciative or through being mindful.
As I am sitting here in my kitchen with the fresh and crisp morning air settling in the space, the peace and quiet temporarily envelopes me. I savor this moment as I am sipping on my espresso and watching hummingbirds fly in and out around my feeder, happily taking in the fresh nectar I just put in.
I think of how this kind of simple joy can bring me so much thankfulness and contentment.
This year has been punctuated with highs and lows in my life, accompanied by a rollercoaster of emotions. The world is descending into chaos and madness that’s beyond words.
When the world seems beyond repair, and when my life sometimes feels impossible, I always try to remember breathing and doing grounding work, and summoning myself to jot down some quick thoughts in my journal that sometimes turn into a gratitude entry.
I know, writing about gratitude seems cliché and the basic thing to do, but when things are dire, holding onto some of the basic goodness in my life and goodness in the world keeps things in perspective for me and fills me with appreciativeness and vigor.
According to Forbes' article, "How to Practice Gratitude" (2023), research shows that practicing gratitude can "boost your mental and physical health, increase positive feelings, help you connect more deeply with others, reduce stress and even trigger better outcomes for your life."
Of course, I (and believe everyone should) give myself permission to feel my emotions and de-stress for a bit. But, remembering and acknowledging the goodness in my life keeps me moving forward the best way I know how. Taking care of myself and my mental state allows me to better serve others.
For example, some of my acknowledgements include being incredibly thankful for having good health; a strong support network system, especially my family; or even something as basic as being able to savor the joy of seeing hummingbirds coming to visit my feeder.
Also, I feel blessed that I get to work at a job and career that I love, providing beautiful, customized embroidery and handkerchiefs to my customers, helping them celebrate their momentous occasions.
Of course, you can always aim to feel appreciative of the greater things, like just buying your first home, getting that new promotion or taking that special trip to Europe, but I also try to remember the basic goodness that I have in my life in order to feel content with what I have in my life.
So, consider taking a moment out of your day for yourself and breathe and acknowledge what you have in your life, and remember there is also good everywhere around you, too.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones – family and friends.