Thanksgiving Gratitude as a Year-Round Practice
Thanksgiving. It’s that time of year again. The time of year where we pretend to be thankful while we trample on each other like consumerist zombies. Where all of the internet blogs post their obligatory “be thankful” posts because they feel like they have to (and just want to increase their page ranking on Google). When we gather in droves to gobble (pun intended) down excessive amounts of food as a ritual of somehow being “thankful”.
…but not really.
You’re probably thinking I’m going to be a total Thanksgiving buzzkill with this week’s post. Do not fear. I’ll only be a teensy bit of a buzzkill. What I really want to talk about is how to actually put gratefulness into practice, and doing it year round. So here’s my obligatory “be thankful” Thanksgiving post.
There is a difference between being thankful and being grateful. Being thankful is akin to just being relieved or pleased over a certain kindness or situation. There’s no exchange of kindness. Gratitude, on the other hand, is showing an appreciation for kindness by returning it. There is an exchange of kindness that occurs. See the difference? Don’t be thankful this Thanksgiving, be grateful. Practice gratitude by returning kindness with kindness. By doing so, you are doubling the universe’s net increase of kindness. Such power!
Now, in case you need some selfish reasons to practice gratitude: practicing gratitude results in direct physical and emotional benefits, such as an increase in experiencing more positive emotions (obviously), better sleep, and a stronger immune system. One of the biggest factors that contributes to a life full of well-being and happiness is the practice of gratitude.
So, this Thanksgiving and beyond, put gratitude into practice. Show (don’t just tell) your appreciation to your family members and friends you don’t see very often. Do some volunteer work for the less fortunate. I would consider even eating less this holiday as a way to be grateful that you have enough food to even survive. Many people in the world don’t.