So many people are stressed out today about so many things:
- why is my brother always late?
- will these lumps come out of the gravy?
- can you even believe how long that security line was at the airport?
In a country of people who don’t really cook, we maintain this annual tradition of huge dinner parties, making foods many of us don’t prepare any other time of year.
So here’s my advice: take a deep breath and remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks.
“Oprah was right,” said University of Miami psychology professor Michael McCullough, who has studied people who are asked to be regularly thankful. “When you are stopping and counting your blessings, you are sort of hijacking your emotional system.”
Grateful people “feel more alert, alive, interested, enthusiastic. They also feel more connected to others,” said (Robert) Emmons, who has written two books on the science of gratitude and often studies the effects of those gratitude diaries.
The last two years, I prepared for Thanksgiving by doing a month of daily posts about gratitude, so this is clearly something I believe in.
If you want a little inspiration while you’re waiting for the turkey to thaw, here are some of my favorite past blog posts about gratitude:
- why be thankful anyway?
- acknowledge the things you hate and try to find something you love in each
- reflect on your regrets and give thanks for the lessons your mistakes have taught you
- try to forgive the people who’ve hurt you, or at least to find something to be grateful for in the hurt
- try to redirect your desire for things you don’t have to gratitude for things you already have
- if you’re grieving, reflect on the reasons you’re grateful to have known the loved one you’ve lost
- embrace life’s imperfections — if you throw a dinner party and it goes terribly wrong, at least you’ll get a laugh
- find time to be grateful even if you think you don’t have time to give thanks
And because it makes me smile, here’s a re-run of a prayer of thanksgiving you probably won’t hear at your dinner table today:
Thanks to you for reading! I’m really grateful for your time.