Thankfulness

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It seemed apropos to write a post on Thankfulness. By this, I mean the feeling or expression of gratitude, appreciation, or value that one finds in something or someone.  Within the USA we are about to begin the Thanksgiving holiday, a time which originated from a harvest festival, and is attributed to a 3-day feast shared by New England colonists and Native Americans in October of 1621.

The colonists were to regularly hold “thanksgivings” as part of their days of prayer to God for harvest, end of droughts, victory in war/battle, or overcoming illness.  It has since degenerated into a holiday of gluttony and mass consumerism which provides for much of the nation’s GDP (retail sales are estimated around 70% of US GDP). Food for thought, in 2016 nearly 60 billion USD of US holiday spending was in the 5-days around Thanksgiving weekend (Thanksgiving Day through “Cyber-Monday”).

I’m in no way a religious individual, but there are merits from any numerous spiritual paths in reflecting on that which one might be thankful.  Indeed, there is a well-established practice for those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other disorders where reflecting on what you are grateful or thankful for is part of re-balancing skewed perceptions.  It helps us reconnect with the positive, and while can be done alone (say as a nightly journal exercise) it’s even more powerful when shared with a partner as a way to take a moment to really value that which is important to us.

Exercise

I therefore encourage you all to share in this exercise with those you love, care about – be they family, friends, partners, or lovers.  It matters not – for its valuing the shared connection and remembering what we have to be thankful for that can reconnect us to those in our lives.

  • Get together with the person(s)
    • More intimate: Stand face to face with strong eye contact holding hands
    • Less intimate: Sit shoulder to shoulder, or at diagonals, with the same drink in hand
  • Take turns sharing thoughts or moments for which you are thankful
    • You start with something like “I’m really thankful for that time when…”
    • Encourage them to share something..
    • Keep it going, back and forth, as many as you like
    • The more the merrier!
  • Wrap up with the profound and personal thanks
    • I’m thankful you’re in my life
    • I’m so thankful we’ve met
    • I’m grateful we’re still together
    • Etc…

 

Further Reading

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/gratitude

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/gratitude-appreciation/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/11/23/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-of-gratitude-that-will-motivate-you-to-give-thanks-year-round/