On the fourth Thursday of every November, the people of the United States celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Although originally it began as an occasion to offer thanks to God for a good harvest of crops, it has since become an important day for family and friends to get together to express gratitude for all the blessings in their life.
I quite like the idea of reserving a day to offer thanks. Except, I think we would do better to modify it a little, by making it a lot more frequent. How about celebrating Thanksgiving Time each day?
Research suggests that even five minutes spent thinking gratitude thoughts can enhance our health. Regardless of the socio-economic status, people who appreciate what they have, tend to have better physical, mental and emotional health. And because they are more positive, their success rates are higher too.
The daily Thanksgiving Time that I am suggesting we keep aside, can be effective even when we’re down in the dumps—perhaps even more so. You see, when things aren’t going our way, our mind digs out every ‘wrong’ in our life to reinforce our misery. The Thanksgiving Time can remind us of the small and big good things that we tend to take for granted. This is because, when we count our blessings, our problems appear less challenging and our reaction to them becomes milder—it makes us more hopeful.
The Thanksgiving Time has no fixed rules. It can be observed anytime of the day, or in any form. Like, you can spend time alone in silence, thinking about all the positive happenings of the day and check which ones you have taken for granted. Or, if your day was ‘bad’, think of how much worse it could have been.
Many experts recommend keeping a gratitude diary or journal, where you note down all the little things that have brought a smile on your face. It could be something as simple as someone offering you a seat on the bus. Instead of a journal, you can even blog about it.
Another great idea is to spend time after dinner with your loved ones—spouse/children/parents—to recount all good things of the day. Even if one of you has something positive to share, it will be enough to brighten up everyone. After all, we are thankful not only for our blessings, but also for those that are showered on our loved ones. Moreover, if you’re not feeling very positive on a given day, others can remind you of your blessings.
Still not convinced? Then reflect on what Buddha said about Thanksgiving: “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
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