Tomorrow is a big day! It’s Thanksgiving! Perhaps you have plans to stuff your face with food or spend time with loved ones. Maybe you’re hoping to take the day as an opportunity to reflect on where you are in life and where you are going.
Let’s be clear about this: Thanksgiving is a highly problematic holiday. While it’s nice and fun to think about happy Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for a festive dining experience, this is not really how the story unfolded. (Spoiler alert: the Natives were killed, raped, and generally oppressed in the beginning of what is still a journey against subjugation.)
Even so, there are some qualities within the Thanksgiving doctrine that can still be cherished outside of the folklore surrounding the day, such as the idea of giving thanks for what we have.
In my mind, giving thanks can be defined as the act of gratitude. This can be done through reflection, blessing others with gifts we’ve been fortunate to receive, or expressions of appreciation.
And thankfulness can have important physical, psychological, and social impacts on those who practice it regularly. In other words, gratitude is good for you.
I’ve been thinking a lot this year about ways I can express thankfulness I already feel or appreciate my life even more than I already do. Here are some ideas for how to practice thankfulness.
Keep a gratitude journal.
I’ve discussed my decision to start a gratitude journal before. Writing down 365 things that made me excited about life and brought a smile to my face made me start to notice a bunch of other little things that happened during my days that I miss but still put an extra pep in my step. In other words, accounting for what I was already thankful for helped me become thankful for things I might not have normally appreciated otherwise.
Write more thank-you notes.
Last summer I wrote one thank-you note every day for a whole month and I learned so much. Because I was forced to sit down and really ponder what I appreciated about the people in my life, I became more aware of what I cherish in my friends and family members. The thank-you notes also helped me express this gratitude more readily, which in turn strengthened my relationships. Wins all around!
Film 1 second of your life every day.
Back in May I made the choice to download 1 Second Everyday, an app that helps you capture a snippet of your life each day and then mashes all the videos together for a really cool composite film. Among other lessons I learned from the experience, I’ve been able to better admire my life and celebrate how good I really have it. Going back through the videos makes me remember all the good times I’ve been fortunate to have over the past three months, and I’m so thankful for a beautiful and lovely life.
And that brings me to this: I am so thankful for this community. When I started this blog, I wanted to open up a dialogue about living life well, and my favorite thing since then has been hearing the stories of readers or other bloggers who are interested in the same thing. Thank you for reaching out to me through private messages, comments, or social media posts to share your thoughts and life lessons. It has been such a privilege and joy to connect with you over the importance of meaningful living!
I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy it!
Also, is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? How do you practice thankfulness each day?