Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Many of us have been busily preparing for days if not weeks. Others will arrive at a friend or family member’s home for a delicious meal. While most of us will hopefully express thanks in some way, unfortunately probably very few of us will have really thought about truly being grateful.
This isn’t a condemnation. I’ve been guilty of falling in a similar trap. You see, we all live these busy lives. We run from project to project, task to task, friend to friend. Our to-do lists and bucket lists runneth over with “important” stuff. We sort the urgent from the important, and the nice-to-do’s from the somedays … but along the way many of us forget something very important. Gratitude.
The solution might be counter-intuitive, but it’s truly important. Perhaps rather than trying to get more done, we need to do less. Rather than crossing off one more “to-do” we need to pause. And instead of pushing forward we need to step back, reflect, and take a moment to give thanks and be truly grateful.
I decided to take one of these moments today. This morning. Right now. I almost punted. It’s early. I’m busy. And there’s so much to do. Yet … I have so much to be grateful for.
Taking time to be grateful can be one of the most life-changing things we can do in our lives. And “I am grateful for” can be the most powerful words we speak.
Research has shown there’s a strong link between joy and gratitude. In fact, Brené Brown goes as far as to say, “There is no joy without gratitude.” While many of us believe that it’s joy that makes people grateful, the truth is quite the opposite. In one of those “which comes first … the chicken or the egg” mysteries of life, we’ve learned the root of joy is gratitude.
So today, right now, this second … take a moment. Get out a pen and piece of paper or pull up an app on your phone or computer where you can write something down. Now brainstorm for the next couple of minutes on all the things you’re grateful for. I promise you, when you’re done you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. If you’re like 99.9% of people the results will be powerful … you’ll be smiling, your heart will be full, and your mind will be in a much better spot than when you started.
Interested in making this even more amazing? Invite a friend in on this secret. Ask them to make a list of what they’re grateful for and share your lists. Then you’ll feel something amazing happen! Yes, the combined effect of gratitude and connection is exponentially powerful!
So what am I grateful for this morning? Here’s my list. What’s yours?
- My son, Ben
- Our wonderful dog, Katie
- My crazy yet amazing family
- My father, who passed away on Thanksgiving five years ago
- Good friends … like Betsie who came in town to visit us this holiday
- The nutritious food on our table and the farmers that made it happen
- My health
- This blog, all my readers, and our ability to share great thoughts and ideas with each other
- My “book club” friends who have helped me so much with my journey
- And the higher power that has made all of this possible