“If you woke up this morning, you have reason to be grateful. If you lie your head on a pillow tonight, you have reason to give thanks. Don't take a single day for granted. They run out.”
- Toni Sorenson
It seems as if chaos reigns supreme at the moment. People are clashing with each other over politics, health, schools, and many other things. As we head into November, our thoughts center on Thanksgiving and all that we have to be thankful for. Some days as I talk to people, I don’t hear much thankfulness.
One of the hardest things to do during days of darkness is to remember to be thankful. Someone once told me that if you are feeling depressed, then every morning or evening, write a list of the things you have to be thankful for and you will soon see that the good outweighs the bad. Being thankful is important even when day-to-day events try to drag you down. Remember the good days as we will all have our share of bad days sooner or later.
“Gratitude takes a simple shift in your mindset. Notice the positive things, and you’ll feel positive. Notice the joys, and you’ll feel joyous. Notice goodness of the life you have, and you have more things to look forward to. Gratitude rewires the brain,” says Sarah Browne in her article, “How to Appreciate Life More and Be Grateful.”
Giving is one of the easiest ways to appreciate your life. It makes you feel good, and at the same time, it helps someone else. Listening can be a part of giving. A person who feels that someone is truly listening and not judging will feel better about themselves. Sometimes money is part of giving. Not all of us can give money to everyone who needs something. Look for the times that a small amount of money may help someone buy a few groceries or put some gas in their car. It is a circle of giving and thanks, and in the end, you are thankful that you could give of yourself to help someone. True giving does not expect to be repaid because it comes from the heart.
Staying in the present is another way to be thankful. Yearning for things that are beyond our grasp only makes us unhappy. Wanting the newer car, bigger house, and more expensive clothes are a drain on our thought process. When thinking about buying big-priced items, ask yourself if it is “want” or “need”. Are you trying to keep up with your friends or neighbors? If that is all you ever think about, then is it any wonder that you are unhappy? Be thankful for what you have right now on this day and in this moment, and you will feel more grounded. That does not mean that you should not strive for better days and opportunities, but sometimes it is important to learn patience.
Be thankful for you. Love yourself with all your faults. If you have had a hard time and are now making progress through that difficulty, pat yourself on the back and remember to thank those who have helped you. If you slip and fall back to some of your bad habits, remind yourself that it is temporary and tomorrow is a new day. Keep your focus on the fact that everyone makes mistakes and figure out what you can learn from those mistakes. We are all on different journeys and some are more difficult than others.
What can you do when you feel like giving up? Sit quietly for an hour, shut out the world, close your eyes, and let your thoughts drift to something happy. Write in a journal and continue to do so frequently. In that way, you can look back and see how far you have come. Call your parents and be thankful that they are still alive, or call a friend you may not have spoken to recently. Watch the sunrise and know that each day is a new day. Talk to someone who has been in the same position you are and find out what they did to overcome it.
Hug your pets every day. Be thankful you have them in your lives. Pets are known for bringing the stress level down in your home. There are dogs trained to help those who are blind, those with PTSD, those with anxiety, and much more. A dog, cat, or other pet can show love and thankfulness for having a home.
Be grateful for all there is that you can learn — books that can fill your mind with thoughts of other places and times, online classes that can help educate you or provide interest in a new hobby, and people who are willing to give you a job and teach you.
Thanksgiving is truly a time of thanks. Despite your circumstances, there is always something to be thankful for.
Life is a journey. Be positive and walk with thanks in your heart every day.