Be Thankful, Especially When Life is Challenging

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it may not look like any Thanksgiving you have ever had before.  So many of our traditions have been disrupted due to the pandemic, and Thanksgiving is no exception. In spite of the many details that have not gone as planned, it is still of utmost importance to be grateful.  Actually, the mindful act of being thankful is probably even more necessary this year.

You have probably heard of the many benefits of being thankful, but I think we could all use a refresher.  When the benefits are clearly laid out in front of you, it is a whole lot easier to take action.  I’ve pulled in some meaty resources to help us all remember how life is better when gratefulness is a focus.

Physical, Mental, and Social Benefits of Being Thankful

This Forbes article gives us seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. “Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous.”

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Being thankful can make you a healthier, more enjoyable person.

Some of the benefits they listed include:

  • Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people
  • Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Grateful people sleep better

Sign me up for all of those!  I think we can all agree that obtaining the benefits above, would be a great gift.  These benefits are within our grasp but it requires some determination to make it happen.

How Can I Become More Thankful?

Let’s turn to a Mayo Clinic article for some practical suggestions for boosting your thankfulness.  Their suggestions are pretty simple, but from what we’ve seen from the article above, the results have a significant impact. Some of their suggestions include:

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Keep a gratitude jar
  • Think of one thing or person you are grateful for when you wake up in the morning

Here’s another article from Mayo Clinic that provides some more tips.  These may take more practice but the mental therapy that results from putting these tips into practice could really make a difference.

How Can I Help Those Around Me Be More Thankful?

When you are reminded of the benefits of being thankful, you will want to get those around you to join you in cultivating a grateful attitude.  Whether it is your family or your coworkers or your close group of friends, there are some simple activities that can make it fun.  Don’t dismiss these ideas as being silly and immature. They may be simple, but they can provide a very refreshing activity.

Here is a sample of activities from the blog Of the Hearth:

  • Write gratitude letters to community servants
  • Play gratitude 20 questions
  • Create a gratitude tree
  • Make a gratitude collage

The article gives you 14 ideas in total, so you are sure to find something you can add to your holiday season.

Why Should You Care About Being Thankful?

“When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way.” This quote from Mayo Clinic, sums up the overarching benefit of being thankful.  I think it is quite fair to say that we have had a lot of stress thrown on us in 2020.

Whatever your motives – personal betterment, exemplary leadership, or intentional family/friend influencer – an attitude of gratitude will not let you down. Get informed about why and how to add thankfulness to your lives and start living a better life.

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If you want more material about leadership and mental health, our sister organization, Talent Magnet, has numerous podcast episodes focused on this topic. Here are two of them:

Maintaining a Healthy Mindset During Rapid Change and Crisis with Paul Heagen

The Role of Leadership: Business and Mental Health with Mike Glen

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