A Time for Giving Thanks

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~William Arthur Ward

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving; and being a Canadian, this means a time for giving thanks. It also means a time for family, food and the gathering in of the harvest, whether that be the veg from the garden or the boons and blessings that have fallen upon our lives.

Unfortunately, my extended family live quite far from me- well, they live in Canada. And this means that sometimes, if life feels busy, I try to do a quickie on Thanksgiving. Being in Ireland, I can get away with it. For instance, there have been years that I ignored it all together, or other years where I simply made pumpkin pie and served it as a post- school snack. However, more often than not, I have put on the full deal: bells and whistles included.

Pumpkin-Pie-Image

So this brings me to this year. I’ve been busy and I was thinking of going the quickie route; but much to my surprise, my kids are having none of it. Instead, they declared that they are taking the day off school and we will do Thanksgiving properly.

 My initial reaction was – Day off? No way!

But then I got thinking… gratitude is important. I teach and encourage people to practice gratitude all of the time and here in front of me is an actual holiday dedicated to giving thanks. Why wouldn’t I do this for my children?

More thinking…why be grateful?

For all of you who like a bit of scientific back-up, according to Emmons and Mishra (2010), who did the research for me, there are all sorts of benefits:

gratitude interventions in adults consistently produce positive benefits, many of which appear to endure over reasonably lengthy periods of time. Gratitude interventions lead to greater gratitude, life satisfaction, optimism, prosocial behavior (Emmons & McCullough, 2003 ), positive affect (Emmons & McCullough, 2003 ; Watkins et al., 2003 , Study 4), and wellbeing (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005 ; Seligman et al., 2005 ), as well as decreased negative affect (Emmons & McCullough, 2003 ; Seligman et al., 2005 ; Watkins et al., 2003 , Study 3) compared with controls for up to six months. Similar findings, over shorter follow-up periods, have been documented in youth (Froh et al., 2008 ).

In short, gratitude is good for you! I mean life satisfaction and well-being, what more could you ask for?

So this weekend, I have organized a Thanksgiving meal for my friends and family and will find myself stuffed to the brim with delicious Autumnal fare, plenty of laughter and the love of all those most important to me. Not to mention and undoubtedly, I look forward to a long, post festivity nap on the couch in front of the fire.

Life satisfaction and well-being.

So at this time, I would like to extend the invitation to all of you, as a weekly challenge, to take some time out this week to give thanks and to treat yourself to some nourishment in whatever form it is that you need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Jane

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