For many Americans, Thanksgiving represents perfection in a holiday tradition: family, friends, food, shopping, and of course football. As we reap the harvest and Black Friday deals, why not use this as a time to be thankful, to reflect on what’s most important?
There are hundreds of reasons to be grateful. Perhaps most important is that it compels us to live in the present moment. The website, the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com, reiterates: “It helps you to be in the present by noticing what you do have and stopping to acknowledge it. This can be the company of a person, having food, or even being able to see.”
Things you might be thankful for:
- Family, friends, neighbors and co-workers
- Your pets
- Food on the table, from Thanksgiving dinner to something microwave-ready
- Gainful employment, having a chance to be fruitful
- Being retired with more time to relax
- Giving back
- The beauty of nature, the changing seasons, a sunset, sunrise or full moon
Yes, there may be times we wish things were different – that we could achieve more, earn more, attain higher professional accolades or personal accomplishments. It’s human nature. But disappointments, as well as sorrow and pain, are a part of life. Sometimes it’s the difficulties that enable us to see how truly fortunate we are.
The power of positive thinking – shifting from the negative to the positive.
Constructively viewing life elevates the spirit. But did you know that being thankful can also impact goal attainment? By approaching life's ups and downs in a positive, productive way, you accomplish more, feel better about the job ahead and stay on course.
Conversely, dwelling on the negative can interrupt your stride and hamper productivity. For example, you may get caught up on reliving the past or fretting about the future, rather than staying grounded in the present.
In his article for inspiyr.com, life coach and empowerment specialist, Jamelle Sanders, explains that gratitude shifts the narrative of your life: “So many people in the world today are battling through toxic thoughts and negative words. These thoughts and words create negative cycles in your life.”
He explains that being grateful changes the sequencing of words and the processing of your thoughts. “It seasons your words and focuses your thoughts on creating new possibilities for your life.”
When you talk positively, whether out loud or to yourself, the outcomes are more likely to be positive.
Sanders recommends writing down three to five things you are grateful for at the end of every day. This cultivates what he calls “a lifestyle of gratitude,” a factor that changed his outlook on life.
Realizing all you can be thankful for helps you to see things differently and react more confidently to people and situations. And you’re less likely to compare what you have to others or become depressed by what you don’t have.
Being thankful also provides numerous other health benefits. CBSNews.com medical contributor Dr. David Agus, interviewed by CBS This Morning, notes that when you smile, your whole body is changed. “The chemicals, the endorphins, actually make your brain feel better and do better.”
Agus adds that those who are grateful are more likely to demonstrate self-control, which can help them make better decisions regarding behaviors like healthy eating and not smoking.
Benefits of being thankful:
- Mood changer and motivator
- Increased energy levels and productivity,
- Improved heart health
- Releases endorphins, which can help to lower blood pressure
- Greater fortitude to confront life’s challenges
- Increased self-control for better life choices – like exercising more, eating right and spending time constructively
- Reduces the reliance on alcohol or drugs
- Lessens the risk for depression
As you carve the turkey this Thanksgiving, make it an occasion to embrace and express your gratitude fully; to look kindly upon one another. And to look within as a way for self-improvement and a better life.