Even though to some I might sound American or Canadian, I’m afraid that Thanksgiving has not been a tradition that I’m very familiar with.
In all these years I’ve only know Thanksgiving from what I’ve seen on the big screen: Thanksgiving - the day that friends and family come together to enjoy a big turkey and at some point people might hold hands to give thanks for the things they are grateful for that year.
Exactly this is what happened last week (minus the hand holding) when I was invited by my American friend to celebrate this national holiday with her and her 17 other friends.
And, Oh my!! There is so much to say but it definitely lived up to my expectations.
Besides the delicious food’, I realise that this national holiday is the one holiday that I would like to adopt and add to my life.
While I could write a whole blog post about the yummy food, I will speed up as I’m a coach and not a food critic. So let’s talk about the other highlight of the evening: Giving Thanks.
No matter if you are celebrating Thanksgiving in a religious or non-religious way, giving thanks is powerful.
The reason why I find it powerful or why this holiday has warmed my heart is that all 17 guests had the opportunity to reflect and stand still with what is important to them and what they are thankful for. They acknowledged their friendships, family, life, their time with loved ones that aren’t here anymore, their health, kindness of others and much more.
Let’s say that in this moment everyone at the table showed emotion, love, positivity and happiness - some were close friends and others had never met until this very evening.
Studies in Positive Psychology have proven that those who have created a habit to be grateful are significantly happier than those who don’t.
By allowing each gratitude sentence to flow and by allowing oneself to focus on the positive, your brain and body revisits a place within us that most of us can forget on a daily basis.
In all the hustle and bustle in life it is easy to take things for granted. The food on your plate, new friends you’ve made, the support of friends, family, your health, the house you live in, the fact that you received a free Phil Collins ticket and so on….
It is easy to forget the blessings that are present today and to keep on dwelling on all the things that you don’t have, the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.
Neuroscience has proven that by showing or expressing gratitude your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, which makes us feel good and lifts our mood, gives us motivation and willpower.
This is what I would like to create more than once a year.
So why not create more of this feeling, why wait until Thanksgiving?
But how you ask?
Simply starting to write a gratitude journal for yourself. It doesn’t have to be in a fancy journal or you don’t have to do it on a daily basis but start with practising standing still with the things that you are grateful for in life. What events happened this week, who inspired you today, who made you lifted you up when down?
Simply start by writing down 5 things that you were grateful for this week and maybe build it in as a practice (some might want to do it each day) to see if it makes a difference.
Notice the positive in your life, stand still and be thankful.
There are lots of templates you can find online that might inspire you but a simple pen and paper or saying it to your loved one might do it. So let the dopamine and serotonin flow!
Even though thanksgiving is over I am grateful for lots of things this year but while writing this blogpost I’m thankful for the lovely evening I had, for the reminder of the power of gratitude, for the amazing people that have come on my path and the trust and support that I’ve received while starting this crazy journey.
Thank you for reading and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to share your experiences.