The Good Feeling of Giving Thanks

Yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I know a lot has been written on the subject of gratitude.  Still, it is one of those subjects on which there is always more to be said.

Why is feeling and expressing gratitude so important?  Let’s just try an experiment.  Grab a piece of paper.  I know most of you won’t do this so just make a mental list.  A mental list of all of the things you think you are entitled to but do not currently have in your life.  Compare yourself to people you believe have more.  Spend a few minutes doing this.  Now, step back and notice how you feel.  Probably worse than when you started.

Now let’s make a different kind of list.  Pick something that brings a great deal of joy into your life or, pick something that makes your life better, but you normally take for granted.  Think carefully about this thing.  Think of four or five reasons why you are grateful for this thing.  Be specific.

I was watching a program about Yellowstone National Park the other night on TV.  I am beyond grateful for having had the privilege of visiting that, and other majestic national parks.  They are simply nature at its best.   I remembered water flowing over stunning rock formations and felt awed by how many years it took for these to form.  I felt inspired again, as I did when I was there, by the spectacular performances of Ole Faithful roughly every ninety minutes.  I felt the surrealness of steam rising up from the earth all around me  at dusk.  I recalled truly spiritual moments when I looked straight into the eyes of bison outside my car window.  I felt the joy that we were able to share this place of unparalleled beauty with my mother while she was still young enough to enjoy it.

This morning, I was still in gratitude mode so I wrote a letter to God thanking Him for the wonderful husband He has put in my life.  I went into detail.  Kevin sends me into side-splitting laughter several times a week and nothing feels better or is better for the immune system, than laughing.  Kevin is a great companion, easy to converse with, and generally agreeable and easy-going.  He is generous and willing to share anything.  He cares about nature and animals as much as I do.  We are on the same spiritual path.

Wow!  I just raised my perception of my own well-being by more than a few points by taking two things that I am grateful for and thinking of specific reasons for why I am grateful for them.  If you took the time to do this exercise a few times a week, I am betting that you can, at least for a time, shift your experience of life from mundane to miraculous.  Improved feeling is reason enough to do this exercise, but, an added benefit is that the more things you are grateful for, the more things will come into your life to be grateful for!

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Happy Thanksgiving and may every day be one of thanksgiving!