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Attitude of Gratitude

Ah, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, when I Googled it, is described as:

"...a holiday celebrated by Americans on the fourth Thursday of November. It celebrates the story of the Pilgrim's meal with the Native Americans and is reserved as a day to spend with loved ones and for giving thanks. Most families observe with a large meal and sometimes a religious service".

So we need to give thanks and we need a holiday to remind us, and a large meal and...I beg football versus religious service.

But how many of us really take time to sit and think deeply about what we are thankful for? I know when I have assigned this task of writing down 3-5 things a day they are grateful for to clients, they often report they don't know what to write. We are so busy being stressed, rushing from one task to another, scrolling our Instagram and Facebook feeds, that we have lost the ability to mindfully appreciate what our day has given to us.

I don't think we need a holiday to remind us. I think we need a daily practice. Some studies on gratitude are showing there are long-lasting effects on the brain and many scientists and therapists state that "gratitude is the antidote to depression". Noting what we are grateful for in writing shifts our thinking from negative to positive, creating a surge of feel good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. The more we do it, the more we are firing those synapses. Remember, what we fire, we wire.

Every day we need to take a minute and notice what is going on around us. You're going to miss it all! The way your newborn smiled at you for the first time and your heart just melted; or, the way a patient or client said they appreciate your service; or a stranger letting you in traffic; a deliciously made latté, a sunset, a smile and a friendly chat with the cashier, getting your to-do list done without snags, laughter, your bed, a good night's sleep, your pet letting you scratch their belly. Take a minute to hear the birds outside your window, or the first bite of that perfect burger. Pause for a millisecond and notice it...savor it. Then write it down later. If you really take a minute to consider it, I bet you could find plenty to be grateful for. You owe it your brain. You owe it to the people around you. You owe it to yourself.

Maybe this season, think about starting a 30-day gratitude list. Just three to five things you noticed from each day. Dig deep, pay attention, get creative. And let me know if you noticed any changes.

Today, I'm so grateful for any of the readers who show up here, even if it's just one. I'm grateful for my ability to write and to be brave enough to put my thoughts out here. I'm grateful for the work I do and the trust people put in me to help them. Now you...

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