I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love Thanksgiving! It is a holiday that doesn’t have a lot of fanfare or things to buy 🙂 but the name itself inspires me to really stop and find reasons to be thankful. Since it doesn’t have a lot of marketing surrounding it, it can quickly come and go rather than be on our minds for weeks at a time. I want to challenge us to keep “Thanksgiving” on our minds and in our actions beyond last week’s holiday. How can we do this?
- Write (and mail) hand-written thank you notes. Since I was a young girl, my mom always taught me the importance of writing thank you notes and I have tried to continue this practice. This initially only focused on thanking those who gave me gifts. However, I have discovered that many people have given me a “gift” of their time, talents and energy and I want to thank them as well. I don’t know about you, but I remember the hand-written thank you notes I receive and find that it makes me even more grateful and builds the relationship with that person.
- Say “thank you” publicly. Also, be specific about why you are thanking someone. As humans, we can often easily see the negative or find reasons to critique others. When we pay attention to the positive and publicly say “thank you” it can go a long way to foster gratitude in us and strengthen the relationship with those we are thanking. When we say thank you, it’s important to be sincere and specific. For instance, if someone says, “Thank you for being so great!” it doesn’t have nearly as much impact as “Thank you for giving your time and insight to develop this community resource on helping people become nonsmokers.”
- Find ways to reflect on being thankful. I’ve heard (and tried) many different ways that can help you stay in a place of gratitude. Some of my favorites include: keeping a thankful journal; starting or ending your day writing 3 things you are thankful for during the day; including a time for sharing what each person is thankful for during dinner time; setting aside a time for a mini-retreat where you focus on being thankful and many others. I encourage you to think about what might work best for you. I recently listened to a great podcast from Michael Hyatt that reinforced the benefits of being thankful and I encourage you to check it out too!
So what about you? How are you going to keep thanksgiving going all year long?