The Heart of Thanksgiving is Gratitude

Gratitude - the heart of ThanksgivingThe heart of Thanksgiving is gratitude as we celebrate the blessings of life. Being grateful — expressing our thanks and appreciation — promotes life, letting friendship, closeness, and unity bloom.

Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism, and lower levels of depression and stress. Being thankful enhances pleasant feelings more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life, but they focus on finding the good.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. (From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie)

Choose To Be Grateful

During difficult times, it’s easy to get sucked into conflict and drama, lose hope, and not recognize the blessings in your life. You can purposely turn this perspective around and help change a negative and contentious family atmosphere to one of goodwill and fun.

The first step is to think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. But before you get carried away by your emotions and say or do something you might regret, consider the possible positive and negative consequences. You can stop yourself from complaining and criticizing — even when you feel frustrated, exasperated, or angry. Instead, listen to others with the intent of understanding their feelings and point of view. Deliberately challenge your negative thoughts by looking for things to be thankful for. Share your feelings and address your concerns at a more appropriate time — not on Thanksgiving when memories are being made.

On Thanksgiving, you can help others recall good memories and recognize present blessings by acknowledging the good, being appreciative, showing affection, and being conscious of your blessings.

Give Thanks

Before you begin your Thanksgiving dinner, look around the table. Really see the people who are there. Don’t focus on the food — focus on those you share the meal with. Say a silent blessing for each person at the table.

Be sentimental. Openly share your love and appreciation. Go around the table, acknowledging the good and expressing your gratitude. Remind each other of earlier times and happy memories. Remember to call family and friends who are not with you. Let them know you appreciate them and love them.

Say a prayer. Gratitude does not require spiritual faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.

Thank God for the food and for your family and friends — and for the blessings of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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