Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day – we (my family and I, not the “royal we”) will be heading down to my brother’s for a day filled with football, food, family and friends. We always take a moment before diving into dinner to toast the ones who aren’t at the table and share the thing(s) we’re grateful for. This year I’m thankful that my husband (who grew up in Rockford Illinois and knows how to drive in
bad weather) will be driving, since we will be hitting the road during the very rarely seen Southern California rainstorm. As much as I hate to admit it, the stereotype of Californians driving in the rain is all too true.
A February 2003 UC Davis study on counting blessings indicates that “a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits” and according to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, “having an attitude of gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier.”
So why limit gratitude to one day/year?
Linda Roszak Burton (executive coach, author and “gratitude advocate) is just one of the citizens featured in this morning’s Baltimore Sun article on five residents who make gratitude a year -round priority. “Although she loves how Thanksgiving ‘elevates’ the healing power of gratitude, she doesn’t think the effort should be limited to a single Thursday in November. ‘Let’s find ways to keep it stoked.'”
Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins and Oprah told CNBC that they use gratitude to succeed. “What we focus on, what we put our attention on, really determines how we feel about that particular day or our life in general,” said Huffington
I realize that it’s hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude when Life keeps throwing things at you (she’s kind of a bitch). I have to admit that I’ve let her distract me from the blessings in my life, but that stops today. I’ve found a few websites that I think will help me get back on track.
Charles Burke recommends this Gratitude Exercise. For 10 days you write down 10 things that you are grateful and happy for in your life. “Success is a skill. Happiness is a skill. Gratitude is a skill. Like all skills, they must be practiced clumsily before they can be done naturally. So, if you’ll devote ten honest days to the practice of feeling true gratitude and happiness, I can promise you a dazzling new skill. A skill that just naturally attracts success like a magnet draws iron. Because nothing attracts good fortune and success like a joyous, grateful heart.”
Positivepyschology.com offers 13 Most Popular Gratitude Exercises and Activities: There are infinite ways to show our gratitude to others, to ourselves, and to a higher power or even “the universe” itself. However, it can be tough to get started without practical ideas. These gratitude exercises and activities are some of the most well-known and proven ways to practice and enhance your gratitude.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll try meditating again
Speaking from experience, I think we should all be grateful to USA Today for today’s list of foods which should never go into your garbage disposal, but tell me – what are you thankful for?