I was at a party store recently and walked past a small section of Thanksgiving decor. Shelves were stocked with seasonal plates covered in autumn leaves, napkins with whimsical “gobble til you wobble” inscribed on them, and one goofy-looking plush turkey. This jogged my memory and I had a flashback to when my kids were in preschool. Their teacher asked each child what they were thankful for. She wrote those replies on paper turkey feathers and attached them to a paper turkey. My twin boys were thankful for Mom, Dad, their dog Rudy, Nana, Grammy, chicken tenders, and eyeballs. Yup, eyeballs. Things that 4-year-olds are genuinely thankful for.
It got me thinking about gratitude and the past year that all of us have experienced.
We started 2021 full of pandemic woes. Many felt the effects of continued isolation, businesses still struggling, some of us suffered illness, and others painfully lost loved ones.
Time moves on, we anxiously await vaccines hoping that would get us back to normal. Just when you think we are going to turn the corner, we are thrown a curveball. Supply chain issues hit us! And, right before the holidays. That means there will be a lack of inventory and inflated prices. Are things ever going to get better? And begs the question…
How do we stay positive when so much has happened and so much continues to impact us?
One way to stay positive is to try to protect yourself from negativity. This doesn’t mean using Tae Kwondo or grabbing a Captain America Shield ricocheting off the bad stuff. One way to protect yourself from negativity is to wake up with a sense of gratitude. Waking up with a sense of appreciation is not easy on some days and it’s not inherent for everyone. It is something that we all can work towards.
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” – Buddha
Gratitude is a bit of a buzzword these days and for good reason. Gratitude is a human emotion that can be most simply defined as appreciation. When one reflects on the positive aspects of their lives, they experience an improved mood. There is a mind-body connection. Acknowledging the positive in our lives releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. It activates the pleasure center of the brain promoting a happy mood and positive feelings. Expressing gratitude towards someone or taking time to count blessings has a direct effect on our mental health and our physical well-being.
This Thanksgiving, I’m going to bring back the paper turkey. While Grammy is no longer with us and Rudy’s dog has since passed, I’m going to make sure each of us writes down what we are thankful for. My son was once thankful for eyeballs which represented the gift of sight and for chicken tenders a warm meal on his plate.
As we enter into the holiday season, I hope we all can find a little something to be thankful for and take a moment to express gratitude to others. Thank you for taking the time to read this.