The giving of thanks…
I grew up with strict manners, the old fashioned kind, the kind that required me thank others when I received a gift. If I am honest, that was often the extent of my giving of thanks. Aside from Thanksgiving, I didn’t have or offer up a lot of those warm and fuzzy, appreciative acknowledgements of my fellow humans.
Thanksgiving is expressly that time of year when we have the chance to acknowledge our appreciation of the blessings we receive. The bounty of harvest time obviously warrants thanks.
But what about a true giving of thanks, true gratitude for others and the blessings we receive in other seasons? The giving of thanks shouldn’t only be for the harvest. Nor only for the bounty that comes our way.
The latest research suggests that gratitude; the feeling that creates giving action, is good for you and makes life full of joy and vitality. Feeling gratitude prevents less health problems and self-limiting comparison to others who have things better than we do. Gratitude though, doesn’t always come naturally.
Feeling gratitude makes social relationships possible and more pleasurable. And it takes work just like anything else that is good for you (think exercise). There is much information out there about how to generate and foster feelings of gratitude. If you are interested in the topic, let me know and I will send you further information about it.
While you are thinking about Thanksgiving, here are four ways you can cultivate and express more gratitude in your relationships with others:
- Buy something for both of you. Yes, that something should be something you can participate in together. The research shows that experiences such as concerts, meals, vacations, and paying it forward at Dunkin’ Donuts will make you happier than the accumulation of stuff. The best part is everyone benefits and gratitude is cultivated in both parties. When people reflect on experiential pursuits they feel fortunate and are motivated to give back or pay it forward in general.
- Write notes to others expressing thanks and this will support the feeling of gratitude (even if you never send the note). Writing a note will only take 15 minutes. More time is needed but the benefits are greater, if you deliver it in person and read the note aloud.
- Give credit where credit is due. Thanking people using other-praising words focuses the good feelings on the person being thanked. Keeping the positive attention on that person by choosing words such as, “You went out of your way” or “You chose just the right gift, you are so thoughtful that way” creates greater feelings of connection between you. My notes used to say, “Thanks so much for your gift. I love it.” Not much about the other person. An other-focused thank you creates greater gratitude for both parties.
- Show someone how much you care. While it might seem awkward to express such feelings, to presume to say something so personal, you need to know that the response to gratitude is almost always positive. Feeling awkward or worrying if your recipient will feel weird hearing how much they mean to you are common reasons people stop themselves from really appreciating others. But gratitude is a tool that helps people to feel more connected and in todays world we all need a little more connection.
So, have a Happy Thanksgiving. How wonderful it would be if we all gave thanks each and every day of the year
Your Reset Reminder of the Week:
Give thanks, gain gratitude and create connection!