Happy Week of Thanks!!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it marks the beginning of the holidays. Like… I’m sorry if you’re one of those people that like to put your Christmas decorations up in July… it’s okay, you do you! But for me, I love to enjoy Thanksgiving and fall for as long as possible and then celebrate the beginning of the holiday season.

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The past few years Thanksgiving has brought about a wonderful tradition for me. There is nothing that makes me feel more gratitude then going out and serving those less fortunate than me. I started this tradition 3 years ago when I was living in San Francisco.

San Francisco has one of the largest homeless populations in our country and when I lived there it was the first time that I had really been face-to-face with that type of poverty. It really got to me. As I would walk to work each day down in the Financial District and see veterans in wheelchairs and young men playing instruments for pennies and women sitting on the corners holding tiny babies dressed in rags, it just got to me.

I remember one day in particular. Before leaving work I threw away a TON of leftover food from the luncheon the company I was working for had had earlier that day. Without even thinking I threw dozens of sandwiches, chips, and cookies away. I left the office, and as I walked to the train, I passed homeless person after homeless person after homeless person that would have given anything for just a bite of one of those sandwiches or a bag of chips that I had just thrown away.

And it hit my like never before how much we take for granted.

Now I don’t say this to put anyone to shame…. every single one of us does this every day. I’m telling you this story to make a point. What are taking for granted in your life? What could you do this week to show just a little more gratitude in your life?

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And maybe you’re already great at this. Maybe you’ve have many experiences similar to mine and give a dollar to every homeless person you see. But maybe you could use a reminder. I know I can. How often do I get into my everyday life with all of my personal worries and just completely forget to look around at who I could help.

How often do we get so lost in our own troubles, anxieties, and worries, that we forget to remember how truly amazing we actually have it. Because for 99% of us, no matter how bad you think you have it, there is ALWAYS going to be someone that has it worse.

So my challenge for you this week is to express gratitude in every way that you know how to. I have talked to so many successful people and read so many books and listened to so many podcasts from successful, happy people and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM says that gratitude is the #1 thing that creates happiness and that has led to their success.

Gratitude has SO MANY benefits to our physical, emotional, and social health… it’s kind of unreal.

Here are 10 things ways being grateful benefits your life….

  1. Gratitude makes us happier. - A five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That’s the same impact as doubling your income!

  2. Gratitude makes people like us. - Gratitude makes us nicer, more trusting, more social, and more appreciative. As a result, it helps us make more friends, deepen our existing relationships, and improve our marriage.

  3. Gratitude improves your physical and emotional health. - Living in gratitude contributes to you experiencing less stress, reduces feelings of envy, and leads to experiencing happier feelings.

  4. Gratitude reduces materialism. - And we all know we could use more of that this time of year. :)

  5. Gratitude increases self-esteem. - Imagine a world where many people help you all of the time for no other reason than that they like you. Gratitude helps to create a world like that.

  6. Gratitude improves your sleep. - Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time required to fall asleep, and increases sleep duration. Said differently, gratitude can help with insomnia. Don’t believe me?? Start a gratitude journal at night… and experience it for yourself.

  7. Gratitude increases your energy levels. - Gratitude and vitality are strongly correlated. It makes sense right? Less worry… less stress… less frustrated feelings = less energy being sucked from you. The more grateful you are the much more likely you are to report physical and mental vigor.

  8. Gratitude helps us bounce back. - When you develop the habit of seeing the good things in your life, it creates greater ability to bounce back after loss or disappointment. It also helps you reach out to support systems more often.

  9. Gratitude makes our memories happier. - And people that feel good about their past and focus on the good things create more of the same in their present and future.

  10. Gratitude improves your decision making. - Decision making is really tiring – so tiring that we automate to our subconscious much of the reasoning that goes behind making a decision. So when you have an attitude of gratitude you are already training your brain to overcome and make GOOD decision because you are in the habit of seeing what’s good for you.

So what do you say? Are you ready to recommit to creating a gratitude ritual for yourself? It’s okay… I know it’s cliche… and I also know that I recommit to this every year and it’s so easy to fall off. But the point is to recommit and begin to reap the benefits of having an attitude of GRATITUDE.

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Comment below your experiences with gratitude and how it has improved your life.

And HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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