- Carolyn Costin
Thanks Giving, Giving Thanks
When we give thanks, we are expressing gratitude, taking notice of what we are thankful for. It can be hard to experience gratitude when things are stressful, or circumstances feel dire. But, this is when gratitude is very important and can help us the most.
The thing is, people really don’t think of gratefulness as a skill, they think of it as a feeling that they either have, or don’t have. Gratitude is a feeling and a skill. Sometimes it’s easy but a lot of times it takes effort.
Gratitude means focusing our attention on the good we can find, rather than the bad. That takes practice, like any habit. Gratitude can be developed.
Looking for and highlighting things we are grateful for, develops the skill of turning our attention to what’s good in our life, even when times are rough.
You can find simple things to be grateful for, like a good meal, or deeper things, like a long-term relationship, or more cosmic things, like a sunset, which are often overlooked due to their familiarity. Taking some time to focus on and appreciate things we often take for granted, fosters gratitude and can even re-enchant your life.
You can experience gratitude by remembering how bad you thought certain things were going to be which turned out fine. You can also find gratitude by thinking of hard times from the past that you have gotten over. Gratitude is sometimes just appreciating what you have or where you are now.
In some ways gratitude comes from seeing the glass as half full, rather than half empty. Yes, this is an old cliché but pause for a few seconds to think about it………… What you choose to focus on, or pay attention to, changes everything. You know the glass is half empty AND half full, but where you put your focus matters. If you are focusing on how bad things are, you will “feel” bad and vice versa. Making a practice of, even just occasionally, turning your attention to what is good, what you are grateful for, can provide comfort, elevate your mood and help you through tough times.
So perhaps on this Thanks Giving, with so much turmoil and upset in the world, don’t worry if you are not feeling particularly grateful. Lift your spirits, and those around you, by creating gratitude and feel the benefits of energy following thought.