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No Thanks In Thanksgiving But I Am Grateful

by The Happy Rock on November 25, 2007

The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies;
but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and,
as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
-Henry Ward Beecher

As I drove home from the second of our family’s Thanksgiving meals, I was struck by the fact that I hadn’t given thanks for much of anything. WOW, on a day that the US is supposed to collectively express gratitude for everything in our lives, I hadn’t let the spirit of the Thanksgiving change me. I was so wrapped up in the business of the day that even the prayers of Thanksgiving before meals went in one ear and out of the other.

I would love to blame the whole thing on allowing myself to be too busy, but if I am honest with myself, I am not a grateful person. Not ungrateful to the point that I abuse the blessings I have been given, but ungrateful in a “I just don’t think about it” way. I can try to justify it with soft words, but ungrateful is ungrateful.

gourds-pumpkins-thanksgiving.jpgThe frustrating part is that I have so so much to be thankful for: awesome wife, child, job, wealth, energy, passion, and freedom just to name a few.

It’s time to change the orientation of my heart. I don’t want to be that person anymore. It doesn’t align with who I want to be and where my life is going. My financial dream is to give money away, and that doesn’t happen unless I change my heart. Next Thanksgiving look different, but I am not going to wait that long to change my. Now is the time.

While researching the benefits of gratitude I came across a list of four things that anyone can start right now to start producing a grateful heart :

  1. “Maintain a gratitude journal. Emmons’ research showed that people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercise more regularly, report fewer physical symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and maintain greater optimism about the future.
  2. Create a list of benefits in your life and ask yourself, “To what extent do I take these for granted?” Some people need such concrete visual reminders to maintain mindfulness of their gratitude, explains Emmons.
  3. Talk to yourself in a creative, optimistic, and appreciate manner, suggests Sam Quick, PhD, of the University of Kentucky. This could entail simply reflecting on things for which you’re grateful or, if you’re facing a challenging situation, seeing how it can ultimately be beneficial. For instance, having to cope with particularly difficult people in your job or neighborhood can improve your patience and understanding.
  4. Reframe a situation by looking at it with a different, more positive attitude, offers Quick. He provides this example: Rather than seeing his 6-year-old daughter as cranky, irritable, and troublesome, a father might reach the conclusion that the youngster is tired and needs rest.”*

I am going to start the process by doing a gratitude journal entry on Sunday mornings. I will start by speaking out loud and writing down the items that I am thankful for. I will start with this small concrete measurable task and see where the growth of gratitude takes me. I know it will change my life and my perspective, and I welcome the change! The first entry in the journal will be about how I am grateful for not being grateful on Thanksgiving and the spirit that awoke me to the notion! It’s going to change my life.

*Source : Boost Your Health With a Dose of Gratitude (WebMD)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

shela November 25, 2007 at 5:55 pm

I find that using a gratitude journal is very helpful.

My journal has two parts:

– On Sunday, I make a list of ten things I am thankful for.

– On a daily basis, I list three things that went well, and for each I jot a brief explanation of why it went well.

Over time, I am able to see patterns that help me to become happier in life. In looking over my entries, I find that more things in my life go well when I plan in advance rather than when I do things on the fly. It would have taken me a lot longer to discover this patterns if I had not been using and reviewing a journal.

I can also see that the things I am most grateful for are not material things in my life but the people and animals and good experiences along the way.

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