Every year, we sit down to feast with our family and friends. We spend hours (even days) cooking our favorite autumn treats, and yet more often than not we forget the true importance of the holiday.
Everyone knows Thanksgiving isn’t really about the turkey, but, honestly, how much time will you actually spend feeling grateful this weekend?
Why Gratitude Matters
Gratitude is the single, most important habit you can develop if you want to increase the happiness, joy, and prosperity in your life.
Gratitude is so important, I consider it one of the essential keys to an abundant life.
It literally re-wires your brain to appreciate more of the good things that you already have, and when you start to focus more and more on these positive aspects, you’ll find you will quickly have even more to be thankful for.
There is a ton of data to back this up. Harvard-based psychologist Shawn Achor writes that creating a habit of gratitude can increase your overall happiness and well-being for up to 6 months, even if you stop the habit after less than a month.
In a different study, Robert A. Emmons, PhD, and Michael McCullough, PhD found that writing down 5 things you’re grateful for from the previous week can improve your happiness by as much as 25%.
Dr. Emmons conducted an additional study on gratitude in which people saw not only a greater gratitude boost, but a greater boost in their giving– directly contributing to the happiness and gratitude of others.
In other words, gratitude is contagious.
That’s why it’s one of the keys to abundance, and one of the secrets to ensuring you have a festive and fun-filled Thanksgiving weekend.
Easy Gratitude Exercises and Activities for Thanksgiving
There are tons of different gratitude exercises that you could work with in order to build a habit, but in this post I’m going to share three of my favorites that you can use while seated around the table with your family.
With each of these exercises, the most important point is that you take the time to really feel into the love and appreciation you want to instill. Doing lip-service is not enough, you have to tap into the feeling of gratitude in order for these activities to work for you.
- Share 5 Things You’re Grateful for This Year. Sharing things that you have (or have done) that you’re grateful for causes you to take the time to step back and appreciate what is already going well for you in your life. These could be anything, from something you’ve accomplished this year, to a vacation you enjoyed, or simply acknowledging how lucky you are to have your friends and loved ones in your life. Take a few minutes to go around the room and have everyone share a few of their favorite things. Hearing what others appreciate is just as important as identifying your own aspects!
- Give a Silent Thanks to Those You Love. Not all gratitude has to be spoken. When you silently acknowledge others, you often internalize the energy more strongly, because you’re not worried about what others might think or say in response. Simply look slowly around the room, and take 20-30 seconds to pause at each person and give a silent prayer of thanks.
- Choose Inspiring Quotes to Share. Another one of my favorite Thanksgiving gratitude activities is simply to share inspiring quotes. Ask everyone to write down one of their favorite (and heartwarming) quotes, then shuffle the papers and pass them around. Have each person read a quote that someone else wrote!
Like I said above, there are a million ways to practice gratitude, and these are just a few simple ideas to get the ball rolling with you and your family this holiday season.
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