Before You Feast: Give Thanks!

Getting together with family…watching football…cooking and baking…black Friday shopping: these are a few of the many Thanksgiving traditions we all enjoy. But the real meaning of Thanksgiving can get lost in the festivities. Putting the “thanks” back into Thanksgiving is not only important, but also healthy, emotionally and physically.

Giving thanks is the outward expression of a very powerful feeling: gratitude. Sometimes feelings of gratitude get overshadowed by the trials and tribulations of life. It’s easy for thankfulness to get lost in the minutia of our busy days, especially during this time of year.

Lucky for us, we have a holiday that brings thankfulness to the forefront of our minds, but recognizing and expressing thanks for the positive things in our lives is beneficial the other 364 days of the year too!

Psychology Today explains the 13 Ways that you can use gratitude to change your life for the better. Feeling stressed? Gratitude helps decrease that stress. Feeling tired? Practicing gratitude improves your sleep and gives you a sense of calm.

Oprah Winfrey introduced the idea of a gratitude journal to her millions of viewers when she shared her gratitude practice on her show a few years back. Winfrey recently explained how her gratitude practices have changed over the years but she still makes it a habit to chronicle her gratitude on paper.

The easiest and most impactful way to incorporate gratitude into your life is the nightly gratitude list like the one Winfrey regularly writes in her special “gratitude journal.” But all it takes is a sheet of paper, a pen and a few minutes to think about what you’re thankful for. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  1. Good Health
  2. Loving and supportive family
  3. Strong coffee
  4. My warm bed at the end of a long day
  5. Dark chocolate

Need more inspiration? The Reverend Mari Gabrielson, Minister of the Unity Church of Milwaukee shares her Power of Gratitude which offers even more reasons to be thankful for all of our many blessings and focus on the positive aspects of life. Rev. Gabrielson explains, “When people send out a vibration of any kind, they are profoundly influencing their world in a positive or negative way…Feelings are vibrations.”

Christiane Buethe is a special education teacher at Milwaukee Collegiate Academy. Buethe’s Gratitude Affirmations are a way to change your perspective and get a boost of positivity in just 3 minutes. By focusing on positive things and what/who we are thankful for, we can infuse our mind with a dose of calm and positivity.

How can you bring gratitude to your Thanksgiving celebration? Here are a couple of easy ideas:

  1. When everyone sits down to enjoy the meal, take a minute to ask your guests to share something they are thankful for.
  2. Just before eating, take a minute to verbalize thanks to whatever God or higher power you believe in.

Thanksgiving is a great time to start taking advantage of the physical and emotional benefits gratitude can bring to your life and, in turn, to the lives of anyone you interact with on a daily basis. Here at Eastcastle Place, we have so much to be thankful for including the friendships we share and the activities we enjoy together. Of course, we’re also thankful for the chance to be a part of a special community in this friendly and exciting city we’re lucky enough to call home.