ThanksLIVING - Living a Life of Gratitude
Thankful Hearts Are Happy Hearts
Autumn is my favorite season for multiple reasons: the splendor of changing leaves, crisp morning air, geese flying southward, donning layers (occassionally!), and my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday? *gasp* How can that be? Don't you mean Christmas? Nope. Thanksgiving. Family and friends gather for no other purpose than to celebrate the joy of life. We share food - often the same meal seen on Christmas tables. But the difference is in the holiday agenda. Thanksgiving is markably void of commercial hoopla & clamor for Black Friday sales (I've only gone ONCE & so help me, I have no intention of ever, EVER venturing to the marketplace on THAT day again!). Thanksgiving memories are filled with relaxed days of family games, decorating, walks, movies, and warm remembrances of yesteryears.
Many families hold a tradition of sharing what/whom they are most thankful for at some point during the day - as a group. I believe strongly in the value of expressed gratitude - and its importance spans more than just a red letter calendar day.
Years ago someone gave a journal to me. In that journal, I challenged myself to write daily three to five things for which I was thankful. You know what? I did it. "Crappy" days found me expressing gratitude for indoor plumbing - but at least I had that! The cool thing was, with each gratuitous stroke of my pen, proverbial "weight" lifted from my shoulders.
My husband and I determined to engrain a thankful viewpoint in our children. Ever since our children could talk and express themselves, they share a minimum of three things from the day for which they are thankful. I cherish memories of toddler voices declaring, "I am thank you for..." As their ears and understanding grew, their sentences changed grammatically, "I am thankful for..." My youngest, who is two, just recently joined in our roundtable thanksgiving. I anticipate hearing what they hold dear.
The kids are free to share what is important to them. Their "thankfuls" have ranged from spending time with a friend to a neighborhood friend getting their b-b gun confiscated (because that meant the neighbor no longer could shoot birds or squirrels), going to the park to staying up late, a new toy or going out to eat.
Thanksgiving through and above all things
Call me Pollyanna, I do not care. I endeavor to find a silver lining in every situation. When folding ever-growing piles of laundry, I give thanks for automatic washing machines & dryers, and most importantly, for the family who wears the clothes. I have encouraged my children to look for something even in the most seemingly daunting task: homework - that their brains function & they have the opportunity to learn and are not child slaves. I have shown my older children pictures on the world wide web of children who would LOVE to have homework, or have chores to do in a home with parents who love them.
Amazingly, as I declare the people and things for which I am grateful while scrubbing dishes or toilets - the stress dissipates and the chore becomes a joy. When I do not start a task cheerfully, I normally have an attitude change during the chore. One of my goals right now is to approach each task, whether personal or business, with a grateful outlook. When I do, the job is executed in excellence, and the satisfaction is even greater once the project is completed.
- The health benefits of being thankful | PRI.ORG
Being thankful and counting your blessings this Thanksgiving may help you mentally and physically -- recent research shows it's healthy to be grateful -- from PRI.
Thanksgiving is Good for Your Heart - Literally
Research shows health benefits in journaling your thanks. In a Public Radio International piece, Jeffrey Froh, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University, conducted a study amongst college students. He is quoted: "It's beyond feeling good, and beyond happiness ... we found that grateful kids tend to report less physical complaints; bit also in the adult literature ... they found that grateful people who counted blessings were more likely to exercise, more likely to report better sleep; less likely to report these physical complaints. There's even some research done, we're looking at, when you have a sense of appreciation your heart rhythms are more coherent and smooth, which of course is healthy."
Taste & See
I challenge you to begin journaling thoughtful reflections of events or things for which you are grateful each day. Jot a minimum of three items - DAILY. If you have a spouse or children, roommate, include them in an outward pow-wow of gratitude. You'll be glad you did, and so will they -- even if not immediately. My children's friends participate when spending the night with our family. One child expressed, "Yay! Thankfuls! I love those. They're fun." If we are running late and I send the kids to bed without our thankful time, most of the time they object, "But we haven't had our thankfuls!" :-D And for that I am truly thankful.
Do you have a daily "thankful" time? (and I'm not talking about mealtime prayers!)
Journaling Thanks - An Interesting Idea!
- Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving by Giving Thanks All Year Long - An Attitude of Gratitude
Giving thanks all year long can be a tradition that teaches an attitude of gratitude to us and our children. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions? This might be one that you would like to start.