Happiness

Don’t let your gratitude end with Thanksgiving

Whole libraries have been written about the importance of gratitude. It improves your mood, boosts your outlook on life, and–I would argue–brings like-minded, gratitude-filled people into your life. The psychological and social benefits of gratitude are well documented.

I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving. I don’t enjoy the dry turkey or dry rolls or dry stuffing (and every year, at least one of those items is guaranteed). I don’t enjoy watching masses press together on NYC sidewalks to watch giant balloons go past. I dislike the tendency to sit and watch football instead of (rather than in addition to) visiting. I feel bad for the dogs at the National Dog Show who don’t get the luxurious, stress-free life of spoiled pups like my Bentley. I feel bad for employees working Black Friday and even worse when I contribute to the madness by joining my mother at those stores to grab deal-of-the-year Christmas presents.

Despite the many small reasons I’ve grown to dislike Thanksgiving, I still appreciate the concept of a holiday around gratitude. This year was the first year we didn’t go around the table saying what we were grateful for. While I was glad no one had to listen to me express my immense gratitude for Bentley yet again (He’s my choice three years counting), it was strange to skip that tradition.

From my experience, the most common gratitude sentiment is family; people are grateful for their family, for additions to family, for opportunities to gather. I am no stranger to that gratitude. I am immensely appreciative of everything my parents do and have done for me in my life. My family is pretty amazing.

When evaluating my own personal moments of gratitude, I find it useful to sometimes dig down into the tiny items–the small luxuries that make you happy or that contribute to your everyday routines–and express gratitude for them. For the lady in the grocery store who let me check out first because I only had a couple items. For the pumpkin muffin recipe that’s become an office favorite. For the many issues with my car, none of which require expensive (and/or mandatory) repairs. For the luxuries of vanilla-scented Tarte palettes and Bath and Body Works candles.

One of my initiatives for 2018 is to finally put together my gratitude jar, a place where I’ll write down daily gratitude reflections. I have the materials but need to complete it still. Once I do, look for a gratitude month-long “boot camp.”

I hope you had a warm and relaxing Thanksgiving with much to be grateful for!

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