Here we are just finishing up with Halloween. I mean literally, since in most places it was cancelled and became “Halloween in November.” Sadly this was due to the snow and unfortunate events following, such as down trees and electric lines. We’re usually wishing for a white Christmas or Thanksgiving, not Halloween!! I will say however, it put that holiday spring into my step despite all the havoc it caused. One has to agree it was a pretty sight!
Ever notice when the holidays approach, we start to become more impassioned? We start to really focus in on what we’re grateful for. Maybe we reflect on memories of those that past, more so than other times and as the holidays get closer, we start seeing more smiles walking around than frowns. OK, so yeah, there are still those holiday Scrooge’s walking around but hopefully we can assist them in getting their frowns turned upside down!
One way to start is to “give thanks”! I don’t mean this in just the meditative state although I highly recommend that as well. I mean actually practicing giving thanks, expressing your gratefulness towards others through touch or words. Sometimes we don’t realize what is going on in others lives. We might be thankful for so much going on in our own world and not even realize the suffering and pain someone else is being inflicted with. Be mindful of those around you by being kind. When you center on all the things to be grateful for in your life, this makes being kind to others that much easier.
What better time of year to practice this than now, around the holidays. Key point here though is to keep it going beyond the holidays. Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate all that we are grateful for by sharing this tradition with family and friends, who in some cases travel afar to be together. That doesn’t mean we still can’t practice this on our time, anytime!
Bonus - Giving thanks is good for your health! Focusing on blessings can help someone ward off depression and build resilience in times of stress, grief or disasters. This was according to studies of people impacted by the Sept. 11 terror attacks and Hurricane Katrina.
When you are feeling grateful, you not only have more energy, but you’re less stressed, more optimistic and overall happier! You smile more often and when we smile more often, guess what else happens? We boost our immune system, therefore less likely to get sick. We also become more attractive and approachable, our endorphins soar and create a natural high!
One of the greatest parts about this too is that your smile and enthusiasm is contagious. Those Scrooge’s I spoke about? I bet you anything you can get them to smile. I’ve witnessed it; I’ve done it!! It’s an amazing feeling to get someone else to light up a room through your infectious smile or even a simple “thank you.” Delivering your thanks in person can be so powerful and not just for the recipient but for you, too! Perhaps give your barista a huge smile, a thank you and to have an amazing day. See how it feels for you and how they reciprocate in return.
On the flip side, you might be one to find this hard to do on a daily basis and there is nothing wrong with that. Learning to be grateful all or most of the time is not an easy task if it doesn’t come natural to you. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn now to do this. Such ways that might help you are to count your blessings every day through journaling. It can be as simple as “my friends, my school, my dog, having a roof over my head.” You can even practice this on your phone, send a text to yourself or practice this on Facebook. It can’t get any more contagious when friends are reading what friends are grateful for that day. It causes a ripple effect in reminding others to do the same!
I will leave you with something I find very effective, something I learned while studying at IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition). This will help others to think of the “good” in their life instead of the bad. Instead of asking someone “how are you?”, to hear them quip with “ughh, I had the worst day, my train was late, my car ran out of gas, etc.”. Ask them “what’s new and good?” I’m sure the answer won’t be the same. Instead that person will focus on well, “what’s new and good!”
So do me a favor when it comes to being Grateful and Giving Thanks, don’t leave it at the Thanksgiving Table! Someone will thank you for it!
“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. ~Edward Sandford Martin
Dana Pettit Canneto, Holistic Health Coach, AADP