Contributed By Diana Bonus, LMHCP
It’s November. Fall is in full swing, leaves are blowing, pumpkin spice is in the air, and temperatures are becoming cooler. Fall, specifically November, is also the time when we honor the tradition of giving thanks. Many of us will gather with friends and family, roast a turkey, watch some football, and share a couple of reasons we are thankful. While all of these customs are important and meaningful, I wonder, when was the last time that you examined the meaning of giving thanks?
Giving thanks. Look at the word “giving.” Our holiday is not Thanks-having, it’s Thanks-giving. Thanks is not something you have, it’s something you give. Thanks-giving is action. It’s synonymous with the discipline of practicing gratitude. Gratitude is not an emotion, not something you feel, it’s something you do. When you flex your gratitude muscle, it might feel sore and tired, but what is that age old saying? Ah, yes, “No pain, no gain.” Flexing your gratitude muscle can be as simple as saying “thank you” to the bank teller or the grocery store clerk before they say it to you. You may even be surprised at the balance between giving thanks and the size of your gratitude muscle.
Often we find ourselves spending time looking for someone or something to blame for our circumstances. Here is a Thanks-giving challenge: instead of grumbling about your car, speak gratitude that you have transportation. Instead of looking at the mess your children have created, tell your children what you appreciate about them. Find something every day to be grateful for, and watch how sleek and toned that muscle becomes. Today I am grateful for warm chocolate chip cookies!
What are you grateful for?