It’s pretty easy to wake up on Thanksgiving more concerned about getting the turkey in the oven and cleaning the house than with being thankful or giving out that thanks, as the name of the holiday would imply.
Holidays are huge opportunities for us to consume more. Buy a bigger, better turkey, wrap it in a bacon sweater, get the latest smoker, and pile your table with such a variety of side dishes that everyone is uncomfortably full after a bite of each.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday just because of all that; I love to cook and I love leftover trash sandwiches just as much. That being said, a strong sense of gratitude is even more satisfying and lasts a lot longer than even the largest Thanksgiving spread.
Genuine thankfulness reinforces the glass half-full optimism associated with perseverance and success. It increases our happiness, is associated with a general sense of well-being, and is highly correlated with physical health. Take that a step further and express our appreciation to others and we instantly feel more energized and increase our sense of empathy.
Thankfulness is a well-documented key to success. Grateful leaders who share and role model appreciation and empathy gain the trust and respect of their followers, who will gladly stick it out through the good and the bad because of their loyalty and sense of belonging. Grateful parents raise emotionally intelligent and secure children. Grateful entrepreneurs attract the very opportunities they need from their connections and develop mutually beneficial relationships that will carry their fledgling companies to success.
There really is no limit to the positive impact on our lives, yet it’s often the most neglected habit, which is why interacting with truly thankful people is such a treat.
The surest way to infuse that sense of gratitude into your day, and your life, is to give to others.
The method of giving matters little, although getting your hands dirty and truly working to change someone’s life for the better will surely instill more empathy and thankfulness than giving $20 online. However, therein lies the simplicity of giving: anyone can do it.
We don’t need to be wealthy, donate extremely limited free time, or travel to a disaster area to have an impact. It can be as simple as telling someone, in no uncertain words, what an immense, positive impact they have on your life. Just this simple action will stir up a wealth of emotion, infusing gratitude in ourselves and those we connect with.
The critical element is to give, creating that opportunity to experience just how fortunate we are. We take so many wonderful aspects of our lives and relationships for granted, which is when we are most susceptible to losing them.
Take the opportunity today. Share with someone just how important they are to. Give to a cause you are passionate about. Create a tradition of expressing thankfulness amidst the yams and stuffing.