Thanksgiving: An Attitude of Gratitude
This is a holiday about gratitude, about family and about possibility. It brings people together to celebrate the harvest, to look each other in the eye and share something magical.
What is Gratitude, really?
Gratitude is a virtue. Gratitude is a habit. It is the virtue that Job leaned on during challenging times in his life. Gratitude is a catalyst to all christlike attributes. A thankful heart is a parent of all virtues. Practicing gratitude allows you to experience more happiness, improve your mental health, and be more productive. It is a choice. It is not difficult. But it is easy not to do. You can choose to develop a habit of gratitude and gain the benefits. Or you can allow yourself to slip into negative thoughts, walking around muttering to yourself, “I hate my life.” Gratitude is a disposition. A way of life that stands independent of our current situation.
How does Gratitude Help You . . . At Work?
Those who are happy experience 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, 3x greater creativity and 23% fewer fatigue symptoms. Happy people are also up to 10x more engaged, 40% more likely to receive a promotion, and 39% more likely to live to age 94.
Master this one skill and you become invincible! When something bad happens in your life, look for three great things in your life. If you can learn how to position your mind in gratitude, things cannot hold you down. It’s impossible to take a grateful person and beat them down! It’s like a superpower. You can become invincible just by being grateful. As you build this muscle of gratitude, you’ll begin to even feel grateful for the hard times. The hard times make you tough. The hard times tear you down, so you can build a stronger you!
Take Advantage of the 2-20 Rule.
Shouldy Thinking. There are two forms of “Shouldy thinking”. Shouldy is a play on words: it sounds like sh*tty and is at the core the first type. If gratitude develops happiness, then entitlement develops depression. Entitlement is when you believe something should (shouldy) be happening that isn’t. You are not owed anything. Step out of expectation into genuine appreciation & gratitude.
That is not to say that there are not real injustices in the world that should be remedied. But let me ask you, would you be better prepared to tackle these injustices with a clear positive mind, or a crippled negative mind? This isn’t about the world and what everyone else does, this is about your inner place.
The second form of shouldy thinking is (are?) automatic negative thoughts. Or ANTs. Like real ants these just creep up on you. And there are more than one.
Did you know your brain is 2% of your body’s weight but consumes 20% of the calories you consume. This thanksgiving think about that. Seriously. One fifth, that is 400 calories, or a piece of pumpkin pie. What you eat affects what you think, that is the 2-20 rule.
It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.
What do I have to be grateful for when my world is falling apart?
We can choose to limit our gratitude, based on the blessings we feel we lack. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding. It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God.
It is easy to be grateful for things when life seems to be going your way. But what do you do when what you wish for is far out of reach? It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is proportional to the number of blessings we can count. Instead of being thankful for your circumstances, focus on being thankful in your circumstances.
In times of distress expressing gratitude does not require you to also be pleased with your circumstance. It does not stop you from looking beyond present-day challenges and seeing through eyes of faith what can be. This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.
Develop Gratitude with this ONE simple tool. And it’s FREE!
Write down three new things that make you happy. Each day, see if you can rewire your brain’s for greater optimism and benefit from a boost of happiness. By actively finding ways to practice gratitude, joy and social connection, your brain will retain a pattern of scanning the world for the positive first rather than the negative. You can also use journaling time by recognizing negative thoughts (ANTs) and challenging their validity. Recognizing them for what they are is 70% of the battle.
There are some common results you will experience by doing this simple gratitude journal. Many experience feeling calm, re-energized, and more ready to tackle the day; the ability to see things more clearly, feeling grounded, seeing opportunities rather than limitations; and the joy of spreading positivity to others.
References & Additional Reading:
I straight up stole most of this blog from different sources that are greater than I. If this was a school assignment I’d get hit for plagiarism, no doubt. But this isn’t a school assignment. If I was a better person with more time I could write something more original. The reality is my deadline has passed and frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.
Here they are. Happy Thanksgiving.
Grateful In Any Circumstance - Dieter F Uchtdorf
The Thanksgiving Reader - Seth Godin
The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor