"Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy." Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
Question: What stronger, deeper, and more effective emotion can we experience as humans?
Answer: Gratitude and Thanks!
Many Americans think of Thanksgiving as a wonderful time to celebrate for a long weekend, and eating a great dinner.
But, what is the real meaning behind Thanksgiving? Catherine Millard writes: “We can trace this historic American Christian tradition to the year 1623. After the harvest crops were gathered in November 1623, Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, in Plymouth, Massachusetts proclaimed: "All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings."
Thanksgiving is as much about gratitude as it is about turkey and cranberry sauce! And, it turns out, we need to remind ourselves that feeling thankful has positive effects on our health.
Thanks is an Attitude of Gratitude
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have, instead of reaching for something new hoping it will make them happier. Or thinking they won’t be satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have, rather than what they lack.
“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.”
Your attitude plays a large role in determining whether you can feel grateful in spite of life’s challenges. It’s not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.
It’s not the challenging situation that’s upsetting, it’s how you perceive the situation. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently. For example, rather than getting down about missing an opportunity, try to see the positive side.
Gratitude Changes Your Life
Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”
Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want; but rather noticing the little things, and look for the good, even in unpleasant situations.
Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks, to the abundance that is already present. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient. It strengthens relationships. It improves health. And, it reduces stress.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.