If you’re like a majority of my social media feed, your house (and mind) are probably decked out for Christmas already.
But we have to celebrate Thanksgiving first!
Usually my husband and I spend Thanksgiving as Friendsgiving since we live far away from family. Last year we were in Hawaii! You can read about it here.
This year, however, my in-laws will be coming to visit us and spend a week as a family of six people and two dogs.
Wish us luck on the two dogs part….
I enjoy Thanksgiving because of the delicious comfort of traditional food, being surrounded by family and friends, watching parades and football, playing games and enjoying each other’s company with warm-scented candles and cold drinks.
In my family we pray before we eat. Right before we’re allowed to grab a plate we form a circle, hold hands and bow our heads.
We thank God for blessing us with a healthy, happy family standing to our left and right, a roof over our heads so we can celebrate together and how fortunate we are for everything we have. We also have a tradition of going around and saying what we’re thankful for. It often includes a few sarcastic remarks to make us laugh, a few sentimental comments but mostly saying we’re thankful for what is considered mundane and common.
Then we eat.
And an hour later someone will be napping, the kids want a piggyback ride and 10 people are looking through Black Friday ads.
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Thanksgiving began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a time to express gratitude to those who helped you, thankfulness for having overcome trying events and appreciation for everything good in your life.
I’m thankful for my husband and my marriage.
I’m thankful for my dog bringing humor and love to our life especially when I’m alone.
I’m thankful for a car that works, a beautiful home and the opportunity to work.
You remember the feeling of the love, the gratitude and the initial pull at your heartstrings when someone mentions your name or something you’ve done.
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Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be reserved as your once-a-year good deed. It’s a lifestyle.
A lifestyle of expressing gratitude, showing appreciation and spreading joy. It’s a chance to reflect on how thankful you are for people and experiences; negative or positive.
If you haven’t already hopped on the gratitude journal train, let this be the time you try it out. Just give it one week. Just try it. You have NOTHING to lose.
Every morning write three things you’re grateful for. Think of five things and list them out. If you can think of ten things, write down ten things you’re grateful for. I challenge you to come up with something different every day. Stretching past the obvious and easy topics encourages you to focus on what you take for granted or what makes you happy.
When you’re actively looking for gratitude, you will find it.
The idea of writing down what you’re grateful for provides a visual of how much positivity you are surrounded by. I often flip through my old entries and can see me going in and out of slumps or where my mind was at that time. I forget I was thankful for the sunshine, a trip or flexibility.
Finding gratitude and appreciation in your daily life is proven to reduce stress levels, improving self-esteem, creating change and gaining new perspective. It also helps attract more of what you want (Law of Attraction) and forms self discipline in your daily routine.
Many people often pair gratitude journaling with meditation, prayer or just staying silent in a moment of self-care (which might be your only moment of silence all day.)
I’ve been a confused child, a dramatic teenager and a college student surrounded by chaos. I have always aimed to do my best but know I have made mistakes and experienced many things only few know about.
In times of wanting comfort and support from others I found people who could care less, people who smirk and reply with ‘I told you so’ or thrive on the secrecy of disappointing news. In the times when I was physically or mentally alone it helped to bring myself back by realizing every good thing I did have.
If you’re struggling with diving past 1) Family 2) Friends 3) Health on your gratitude list, think deeper. Write down every detail and find the positive in every step. I’ll use my day as an example:
- I woke up. I’m grateful for that. 151,600 people die each day
- My phone alarm went off. I’m grateful I have a phone and the money to pay for it. 14% of the global population don’t have access to electricity.
- It was raining so I didn’t take my dog on our usual morning walk. I’m grateful for the rain and a house to protect us from it. More than 20 percent of the world’s population lacks adequate housing.
- I worked out. I’m grateful for a healthy, fit body that’s capable of moving. 5.6 million Americans are paralyzed.
- I ate a healthy breakfast and threw a healthy supper in a crockpot. 1 in 6 Americans face hunger.
- I took a hot shower. 25% of the world’s population don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
- I worked on my computer while listening to an audiobook. I’m grateful for technology to connect to people far away. I’m grateful for my hearing and sight. 700,000 individuals in the U.S. have some level of both vision and hearing loss.
All before noon. If you realize how lucky you are, even in a horrible circumstance, you are still alive to experience that.
And that’s something to be grateful for in itself.
I prefer pen and paper in a journal so if this appeals to you grab a fun pen that glides across the paper, a journal that excites you to look at and, another thing I did, place stickers randomly throughout the pages. I also flipped to random pages and wrote quotes or inspirational sayings.
You will come across those pages at just the right time (like this) and they can also work as writing prompts should you get stuck.
I can’t wait to hear about living a life of thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation. There is a difference between saying or believing you are and actually living as if it’s true. In your words, in your actions and in everything you surround yourself with I hope you are thankful.
Cheers and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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