Thanksgiving: A Season of Gratitude

Thanksgiving: A Season of Gratitude

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

When I think about Thanksgiving, it's more than simply the time spent with family and friends and the bevy of food we love to indulge in. It has become a time of reflection and gratitude for all things great and small. From hearing my daughter's laughter to caching a glimpse of my wife's beautiful smile, I am grateful for so many things, my beautiful family, supportive friends, and my life as a cancer survivor. I am equally thankful for a business that has continued to thrive despite the pandemic with loyal employees, security professionals whose jobs aren’t above risk and yet they serve daily.

The more I was grateful for, the longer the list became. I realized how blessed I truly am, and we all are. The gift of life, love, family, and health are all blessings.

                                       “Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.”

                                                      — Jefferson Bethke

Numerous research studies suggest gratitude and happiness are closely related, and the link is far deeper than we imagined. When you are grateful, it impacts your brain in a positive way, it triggers “feel good” pleasure chemicals, dopamine, and the more grateful and positive we are, the happier we feel. The effects can be felt physically, emotionally and mentally.

You begin to re-wire your brain when you choose positivity over negativity. It becomes easier to see your cup as half full as opposed to half empty.

Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and one of the world’s leading experts on the science of gratitude suggests that gratitude is about realizing the goodness around us and recognizing the source of these gifts is much greater than ourselves. Gratitude is really the realization that without the help of others, we wouldn't be where we are today.

                                   “Now is no time to think of what you do not have.
                                       Think of what you can do with what there is.”

                                    – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Being thankful and showing gratitude is what this season is about. It propels us to show love and to give from the heart to others. A smile, a kind word of encouragement, a hug, donating to a worthy cause, or volunteering your time and talents. Showing acts of kindness such as helping a friend who’s going through a tough time or assisting a colleague or employee who is experiencing hardship can make all the difference in someone’s life.

Rather than focusing on what you lack, it's about what you do have, which can benefit someone else. Make a conscious effort to help others and give back to your community this year. Start making a mental shift and cultivate gratitude in your daily life.

Check out some ways to get started:

  • Throughout the day focus on your blessings: Be mindful of the good in your life
  • Keep a Gratitude Journal: Write down at least 3 things you are grateful for
  • Make it a habit to show kindness and gratitude to others
  • Write a thank you note to someone who may have done something special for you