The “Thanks” In Thanksgiving by Angela Fitch – Clinical Care Consultants Arlington Heights and Inverness, Illinois

The “Thanks” In Thanksgiving

by

Angela Fitch, MA, LCPC

The month of November traditionally begins the holiday season in this country, with the focus on the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is one of my favorite times of the year as I can spend a day eating delicious and “filling” food alongside my family and friends.  We will also go around the table and each take a turn sharing one thing we are grateful for.  As I reflect on this upcoming tradition, it makes me consider the concept of gratitude, or being thankful and appreciative of receiving something tangible (e.g. like a new iPhone) or intangible (e.g. spending time with family).  As reported in Harvard Health Publishing, common sense tells us that being grateful is a positive behavior and that thinking about what we are thankful for elicits positive emotions.  What are some ways to experience gratitude?  Read below on what Harvard Medical School has to share:

Ways to cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.

Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.

Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.

Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

 

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