The Power of Giving ThanksNov 17, 2021
It seems so simple. Too simple? Give thanks. Okay, now what?
The truth is (and the research shows) that taking a moment to note and to FEEL gratitude can have powerful effects on your health and well-being.
Thanksgiving is a natural time to give thanks. It's also a natural time to be with our family. Let's be real. Sometimes being with family can be challenging. I'm not suggesting that you ignore that fact or that you pretend to enjoy hearing the story of Aunt Edna's hip replacement surgery for the 15th time. What I'm suggesting is that the annoyed feeling at Aunt Edna and the grateful feeling of having family/friends with whom to share the holiday can exist at the same time. And the benefits of really feeling into the gratitude will far outlast the annoyance with Aunt Edna.
So take a moment to think about one thing for which you are grateful. It can be as simple as your puppy's wet nose or as deep as the love you have for your sister. Feel into that.
What sensations arise and where do they occur in your body? The more you encode the feeling, the longer it will stay and, thanks to the wonder of neuroplasticity, the easier it will be to generate that feeling again in the future.
I encourage you to take the gratitude from the pre-Thanksgiving meal blessing beyond the dinner table and into your everyday life. Consider moving it to your kitchen table. Before dinner (or whatever meal you gather for regularly), take time to go around the table and have each family member share one thing for which they are grateful. Encourage them to strengthen the feeling by noting and reporting the sensations in their body that accompany it. Doing this several times a week not only strengthens a family bond, but the repetition also helps ingrain the habit of looking for the good. Those neuronal connections get stronger and faster each time you use them. Give it a try. If nothing else, it might detract from the amount of whining done over eating vegetables!!