Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and appreciation. Appreciation of what you have. Don’t fall into the trap of what you might not have this year. Focus on who is around versus who cannot be there. Everything around you now is worthy of gratitude and appreciation and the science says the celebration of gratitude has a powerful effect on your happiness.
At Stanford their Compassion Center called CCARE has researched the positive implications of compassionate living and the research on gratitude continues to grow1. Positive Psychologists have studied both the effects of gratitude and more importantly have determined gratitude isn’t just a mindset, gratitude is also a character strength and can be accessed to boost happiness!
On Thanksgiving try these with your family and guests.
1. Counting Your Blessings – I call this first activity “12345” and typically do it nearly every day though the science says an everyday practice isn’t important for the full effect. It’s simple. I set my alarm to 12:34pm and say 5 simple things I’m grateful for each day. Some prompts to consider for things to be grateful for:
- A person
- A favorite food
- A simple object
- Your pets
- A holiday tradition
2. Mindful Eating – Set a timer for 3 minutes and ask everyone to eat in silence. Admire your food as you eat. Look closely at the food, the texture, colors, smells as if you’re seeing the food for the first time ever. Be curious. Enjoy the flavors of each bite without distraction. Have a little fun with it!
3. Morning Mindfulness – this activity is inspired by the late poet Mary Oliver. Have someone lead a simple meditation and after settling into the breath have the facilitator say these prompts which can be repeated aloud or in silence by the group:
To my Strengths. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Weaknesses. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Best Friend. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Home. Thank you. Thank you.
To the nearest Tree. Thank you. Thank you.
To the closest Water. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Happiness. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Sadness. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Heart. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Biggest Fear. Thank you. Thank you.
To my Whole Being. Thank you. Thank you.
Say thank you to all life has given you. And no matter how or what you say thank you to just make sure you say thank you….
Anthony Poponi is a Corporate Trainer, Coach, Motivational Speaker and author of “Focus on the 40” specializing in improving team dynamics, communication and productivity for teams and individuals. His work is based on the research in the fields neuroplasticity, positive psychology, and leadership to focus on a flourishing life.