Giving Thanks This Veterans Day
In celebration of Veterans Day, and a very special date to boot (11/11/11!), I thought we should focus on giving thanks in our lives. Thanksgiving is also right around the corner, so what better way to prepare than to thank the Veterans who serve our great country, and turn inward to consider what else you have to be thankful for.
The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for … not just for the obvious, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.
That’s not always as easy as it sounds. We tend to remember the bad things much more easily than the good. So here are some ideas to help you make thankfulness an everyday habit. It’s a skill that will benefit you throughout the year.
Begin by keeping a gratitude journal. Don’t write down negative things; only positive ones. For example, “I’m grateful that I made it through that heavy rush hour traffic safely.” “I’m grateful that I got to see a beautiful sunset.” “I’m grateful that I have a class at school that I really like.”
Think of all the good things that happened because something bad happened first. For example, “If that slow driver hadn’t pulled in front of me, I would have gotten a speeding ticket.” “If I hadn’t tripped on the playground, I would never have met such a nice person.” “If I hadn’t experienced unemployment, I would never have acquired the skills that got me a more fulfilling job.”
Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you do have. For example: “I’m so fortunate to have a warm place to sleep in the winter.” “I’m so fortunate to live in a safe neighborhood where I can take walks.” “I’m so fortunate to be able to see the beauty around me.”
Think about people you’ve known that have made you thankful for their existence. They can be family, friends or simply people that you’ve read about or seen on television. Imagine how many other people there are who might be equally as wonderful. You just haven’t met them yet.
Think about people who have made life hard for you. Now think about the things you accomplished because of them. Did you finish something because they said that you couldn’t? Did you get better at something because they made fun of you when you did it badly? Did their cruel actions make you vow never to treat others that way? Even the negative forces in your life can be hidden blessings, worthy of your gratitude.
Think about the animals that have given you joy: Dogs that love you with every inch of their hearts, cats that think your lap is the best place to nap in the whole world, birds whose songs uplift your spirit, squirrels whose antics put a grin on your face and so on.
Think about the places that make you smile: A favorite hangout, a wooded trail, an exciting city, a great spot from which to view the sky, a hill that you once rolled down. Give thanks for all these things.
Now pass it on. True gratitude involves action. Lend a hand. Pitch in. Make a gift. Give your time. Listen. Give back as often as you can. Even a friendly greeting can make all the difference in the world.
Create your own opportunities for gratitude. Do you know someone who never seems happy? Be ready with a smile and a kind word each time you see them. It may require patience, but eventually, they’ll smile first when they see you. Your interactions with them will be much more pleasant. Guess what? You’ll have a new reason to be thankful!
Let others know when they’ve done something that you’re thankful for. For example, “I’ll never forget how you stuck up for me. It meant a lot.” “That email you sent really made my day.” “You make shopping here a pleasure.” An attitude of gratitude spreads like ripples from a tossed pebble, benefitting all it touches.
Remember that hard times make good times sweeter. Also keep in mind that obstacles and challenges not only make you stronger, but they force you to explore outside of the comfortable routine that you’ve settled into. Without challenges, there can be no progress. Without obstacles, there can be no achievement. Be thankful for the opportunities that they provide.
In conclusion, giving thanks is a powerful tool that can dramatically improve your life and the lives of those around you. Start by embracing gratitude’s special day, then make it a habit!
Thank you to http://knowledgehound.com/khhow2s/giving_thanks.htm for this post!