Since this is Thanksgiving week, you may not be surprised that I would like to share something about gratitude. It is certainly wonderful that we have a day in the US that is set aside as a holiday specifically related to giving thanks. For many of us, this special day and even the anticipation of this day remind us to think about things and people about which we are grateful.
The benefits we reap from moments of gratitude during this Thanksgiving season can be enormous. Even though we might be aware of lots of unpleasant, unwanted conditions in our lives, when we pause to focus for a moment on all the good that is also present, we can experience an immediate positive shift in our outlook and our response to others.
Something we often fail to remember is that this powerful perspective–shifting “attitude of gratitude” can transform our life experience – if we are willing to make every day of the year a day of giving thanks. People who have learned to engage in a regular gratitude practice (whether hourly, daily, or even weekly) often report that it has played a pivotal role in changing their lives for the better.
Most of us find that our minds much more easily focus on the negative than on the positive. Evolutionary psychology informs us that our negativity bias is a leftover inheritance from early ancestors who lived in a very different world. In their world, a negativity bias was a life-preserving necessity. It can take some intentional work therefore to counter this bias by consciously choosing to regularly work at retraining our minds to shift toward a stance of gratitude.
So I am wishing you great success in systematically extending your Thanksgiving celebration this year into a year-round discipline.