Making Gratitudes Real

(This Resilient Wednesday is a condensed version of an op-ed I wrote, and which was published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last year)

Thanksgiving is the most psychologically powerful holiday we celebrate as a nation as we recognize and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

Since the first Thanksgiving, this time represents a way for us to express our appreciations for the many good things in our lives.

Sometimes I’ve noticed, however, that my expressed gratitude can be somewhat superficial. I might say how grateful I am that everyone is around the dinner table or that we have such a bounty of food to share (blah, blah, blah).

It’s gotten me thinking about how I can make my thankfulness a bit more meaningful, and I’ve come up with three things I am going to do this week to strengthen my habit for gratitude:

  1. Express my gratitude to someone specifically: I will make my appreciations seem more real by stating them to someone specifically rather than just stating a generic idea.
  • Create more acts of kindness: I find small acts of kindness (letting someone into traffic or making time to discuss a personal issue that a client has asked to share) rewarding and satisfying. I try to do these at least once a day, but I wonder if I would be five times happier if I did 5 of them daily?
  • Savor: Walking along the Allegheny River every morning with my dog Cody creates regular opportunities to savor the beauty of nature. I’ve started posting them on my Facebook Page entitled Today on the Allegheny River.  Taking more time to notice is helping me to find more gratitude and sharing it creates an act of kindness.

Thanksgiving begins a time of reflection that lasts through and into the New Year. I hope that by then, my habit of gratitude will be even stronger.

Enjoy your holiday and thank you for all the blessings you’ve bestowed on me.

© Richard Citrin 2022

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