The time is here for turkeys warmed in the oven, football on the television, and a long weekend of not only stuffing the turkey, but stuffing our faces awaits. Traditionally, along with the combination of delicious food, friends, and family brings a time of reflection on what you’re grateful for and the people whose presence and or actions you are thankful for. More or less, one minute to state what you’re grateful doesn’t suffice.
According to an article published in Psychology Today, ‘Gratitude requires an appreciation of the positive aspects of your situation. It is not a comparison.”
Whether you’re glad you made it to class promptly when you normally sleep-in, or work out at the gym after dusting off your sneakers. Often times we catch ourselves comparing ourselves and our belongings to other. One might think they are not worthy enough and what they have is irrelevant. The generation of iPhone you pocket or the clothing brand upon your chest should not be matter, but do we allow it to?
By adopting the attitude of gratitude we become healthier and happier, according to Psychology Today.
“Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle. Your brain only has so much power to focus its attention. It cannot easily focus on both positive and negative stimuli. It is like a small child: easily distracted.”
Your brain loves to fall for the confirmation bias, that is it looks for things that prove what it already believes to be true. And the dopamine reinforces that as well. So once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created.”
After attending a medical mission in Guatemala my junior year of high school our congregation set up a standard clinic on a hilltop of an impoverished village. The natives lived without electricity, running water, and healthcare. Yet, when we walked door to door to inform them about the clinic they lit up. They smiled broken smiles. They invited us into their home with dirt floors and a curtain as a door. They wanted to show off their shacks that were dirt floors and curtains hanging as doors. This one specific memory is engrained in my brain, a blind man that said even though he could not see today he thanks the Creator for the one day he will see again.
Be thankful for the Ramen Noodles, next months water bill, and your upcoming math exam because altogether you are one day closer to graduation. Be thankful for that friend you can call to pick you up when you’re down. Be grateful for this education despite the stress, but the opportunity. Be thankful for your health.
I challenge you to compile a daily list of five things you are grateful for and reap the benefits.