At Thanksgiving many of us pause around the table to consider what we are thankful for. We reflect on what we have overcome, persevered through, what we have. We may smile, laugh or even shed a tear.
Gratitude is a healthy habit to cultivate all year long. Gratitude causes use to shift our focus from negativity and complaints to consider what is positive. It enables us to consider the opportunities we have and examine what is there in our lives. To daily stop and consider what we are grateful for connects us more deeply to others and ourselves. Gratitude can give you a new perspective. Studies are indicating that there are changes in our brain as we choose to be grateful. These underscore both the importance and power of pausing to consider the small things we take for granted. The things in our lives, which we view as bad, can be reframed and seen for the new opportunities that they bring.
The ancient words of the Psalms are full of creative expressions of thankfulness. We can also see how important saying thank you is to Christ in the story of his healing the 10 lepers. When one of those healed came back to loudly thank him for his healing, Christ asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?” David Steindl Rendl, a Benedictine Monk, states in his TED talk that we are happy because we are grateful, not the other way around.
One does not need to be religious to cultivate thankfulness as seen in Janice Kaplan’s The Gratitude Diaries: How A Year Of Living Gratefully Changed My Lifein which she details how living gratefully transformed her life.
Here is a link to the Harvard Mental Health Letter entitled “In Praise of Gratitude” which sites research and gives suggestions for cultivating gratitude in our daily lives.