If you were raised like me, or like my kids, you instinctively know the answer… “Thank youuuuu!”
This response was ingrained in many of us in our formative years; our “thank you” is almost Pavlovian when someone does something nice for us. However, how often do we actually feel gratitude? How often do we actually reflect on the positive elements in our life and feel thankful?
We instinctively understand that we show gratitude for the benefit of the recipient. Aunt Martha gave us a nice gift, we need to respond with a thank you note to make her feel good. And that is valid!
People like to feel appreciated… in fact it goes much deeper than that. A series of studies found that showinggratitude to our employees significantly decreases their burnout and increases their job satisfaction! Another study found that nurses who received more expressions of gratitude from their patients experienced lower levels of burnout.
But, showing gratitude is not merely a selfless endeavor. In fact, expressing gratitude has been linked to increased life satisfaction and self-esteem along with reduced anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, and physical ailments!
Thanksgiving offers us an opportunity to stop and reflect on all the things we are grateful for. However, in our daily lives, outside of this season, how often do we allow ourselves the space to do this?
Amidst the chaos of 2020, for many of us, it has been harder than ever to recognize the positive elements in our lives and feel gratitude. But, in years like this it is, in fact, more important than ever to reflect on all of the good in our lives and feel gratitude.
How can we do this?
Leading researchers in the field of positive psychology have developed some great tools for building gratitude and a positive mindset. These include starting a daily gratitude journal, writing thank you notes to people who have helped you in the past, and establishing a Favorite-Three ritual.
My family implemented one of these rituals many years ago. On a nightly basis we get together and everyone gets a chance to tell us their favorite 3 moments from the day. This practice allows us to have a mini Thanksgiving (sans Turkey) every night, and it recalibrates our minds to focus on the positive in our life… even in the midst of #2020.
I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this Thursday and every day…