There are many reasons to love Thanksgiving, even for a foreigner like myself who never celebrated this holiday prior to arriving in the US. Spending time with loved ones and remembering why you are thankful is a wonderful thing with very positive emotional and physical implications. This past weekend, seeing everyone sharing in person and on social media how grateful they are for the people in their lives put me in a good mood and got me to thinking. While I think it's an incredible thing that happens once a year, I started to wonder how we can take the spirit of Thanksgiving and carry it with us throughout the year.
The act of taking just a brief movement and pausing to think about what we are grateful for doesn’t take long, but it’s so helpful in shaping how we approach our days and interact with the people around us. I decided I would start by writing down five things I am most grateful for:
My loving, supportive family
Unfortunately, we get wrapped up with the busyness of life and we go through our days as if we are on auto pilot. We don't always pause to think about what is truly important to us. It’s also easy to get bogged down by the things we don’t have or the problems we are experiencing in our relationships. So let’s stop and ask ourselves, “Why are we here today? What is really important in our lives?” I am just as guilty as most of you for not taking the time to really stop and be grateful, so I thought that maybe if we all made an effort to make gratitude a priority the week after Thanksgiving, we could start a habit that would stick around for longer than just a day or a weekend.
There is much evidence to support the theory that it takes 21 days for an action to become ingrained in us and actually transform into a habit (you can read more about the power of the 21 day transformation here). So I’m challenging you to write down something you are grateful for every day for the next three weeks. Feel free to share. I want this project to #inspiregratitude.
Obviously, my list of gratitude is longer than just five, but I think beginning with an overall top five list is a good place to start. Go ahead and pause for a few moments and write down your list. Your items can be general or specific -- the important thing is not to judge your own list or compare it to others.
Family is number one on my list. However, after writing it down I started thinking more about it. I thought about the fact that despite having three miscarriages I have three healthy, beautiful girls, but I don't always make it a point to let my girls know how thankful I am to have them in my life. So, prior to writing this blog I went to each of them and looked at them with love and admiration and told them how much I love them and how thankful I am that they are my girls. (My oldest one who is 13 of course had to say, “Ok mom I know. Don't get all emotional.” But my 10-year-old and 8-year-old responded that they love me too.)
Sometimes we expect others to just assume that we are thankful even for things that are seemingly unimportant. Saying thank you and expressing gratitude can be a very rewarding experience for both sides. So after writing down what you are grateful for I encourage you to find one person to share that sentiment with. Creating a culture of gratitude can start with you, and it can start today.
I hope you all have a wonderful week. I’m thankful to each and every one of you who reads my blogs and the entire community we have created at Bespoke Wellness Partners.