Making Gratitudes Real

As I’ve written before, Thanksgiving is the most psychologically powerful holiday we celebrate as we recognize and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives.

Even in the strangest of years, we’ll find plenty of ways to express our appreciations for the many good things in our lives.

For myself, I have sometimes noticed that my expressed gratitude can be somewhat perfunctory. I might say how grateful I am that everyone is around the dinner table (this year on the zoom call) or that we have such a bounty of food to share.

It’s gotten me thinking about how I can make my thankfulness a bit more meaningful and I’ve come up with 3 things I am going to express this week and work to build into a new habit for myself:

  1. Express my gratitude to someone specifically: I think I will make my appreciations seem more real by stating them to someone else rather than just stating them as an idea.
  2. Create more acts of kindness: I find small acts of kindness (letting someone into traffic, bringing something home from the store for a neighbor or making time to discuss a work issue with a client) to be very rewarding and satisfying. I try to do these at least once a day but I wonder if I would be 5 times happier, if I did 5 of them a day?
  3. Savor: Walking along the Allegheny River every morning with my dog Cody creates daily opportunities to savor the beauty of nature. Just last week i ran into our neighborhood Great Blue Heron who was staking out breakfast while sitting on a fallen tree. Taking more time to notice is helping me to find more gratitude.

Thanksgiving begins a time of reflection that lasts through and into the New Year.  I’m going to be playing with some of these new ways to experience thankfulness.

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

© Richard Citrin 2020

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