November 22, 2011

Tips for Being Thankful

top of a sunset

Well Thanksgiving is only two days away and perhaps you are prepared and perhaps you are not.  Perhaps you are excited about the holiday, and perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.  Wherever you are at take some time for yourself to recharge; to get your mind into a thankful place.

So how do you do that when you are experiencing stress, loss and sadness?  And how do you stay there when your family, friends and co-workers are putting too many demands on you?

Obviously there is no easy answer, nor immediate, long-lasting solution, but while searching for answers I came along the suggestions of others that I thought I would pass along.  I hope that some of them work for you.  Please let us know.  We want to hear from you.

1) See with the heart.  There is a quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is is invisible to the eye.”  So when something doesn’t sit right get in touch with your feelings and honor them with kindness and love.

2) Change your language.  This is a good reminder to all of us.  The words you speak to yourself and others really do alter perceptions of the world.  When you recognize toxic self-talk and change your choice of words, seeds of gratitude and kindness can grow.  The same happens when you speak to others.  So let’s work on expressing ourselves differently.

3) Remember.  One of the first steps to thankfulness is to remember … to remember those in our lives who have walked with us and shown kindness.  Recall the scary moments in your life and reflect on all the guardians, messengers and guides who have helped you through.  Let them know that you remember.  It will be good for both of you.

4) Keep a gratitude journal. You’ve probably heard this one before.  And the reason is that it works!  Research has actually proven that it is impossible to be in a state of thankfulness and fear at the same time.  Thus when we are feeling gratitude it is an antidote to fear.  Not only that but gratitude does more than make you smile.  It can improve your health by raising energy levels, it promotes alertness and determination, improves sleep and relieves fatigue.  So write away and stay in a thankful state of mind.

5) Accept a gift.  Here is a great story that I found on another blog: “When I was a senior in college, a homeless man wanted to take me out to lunch.  I had been spending my Fridays at a shelter and we had become friends.  I didn’t feel right about his spending the only dollars he had on a lunch on for me. Please he pleaded.  Let me do this.  It would make me happy. I let him.  And it made him happy.”  One of the hardest acts of gratitude is to graciously accept a gift, to believe in the goodness of the person who gave it to us, and to believe in ourselves enough to receive it.

6) Pray.  Meister Eckhart wrote, “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice. So say whatever you need to.  Share, ask and you will receive.

7) Give back. Giving back doesn’t mean reciprocating favors so that everything is fair and the tally is even.  That’s the beauty of giving.  If someone does an act of kindness for you, one way to say thanks is to do the same for another.

We hope some of these suggestions work for you.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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