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.
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 :
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.