Once a year at Thanksgiving, we’re told to feel grateful for what we have. Children make a list of the things they are grateful for like their parents, or their Xbox. Adults are reminded that they should be grateful for what they have because their parents never had it this good.
But why do we do this only once a year? Surely we have turkey and stuffing more than once a year, but gratitude gets stuffed away in the closet to be forgotten – until someone remembers that it’s that time of year again.
There is nothing wrong with feeling grateful every day. Gratitude keeps us feeling positive. And positive thinking can change lives.
I would say that most of the people who give their time to their community as volunteers are people who feel deeply grateful for what they have.
Gratitude gives us perspective on what’s important, what we truly value and what we have right in front of us. No matter what situation we are in or worries we face, we can always be grateful that we are alive on this beautiful planet. There is a world of possibilities open to whatever attitude we bring to it.
Positive thinking triggered by our gratitude can bring health benefits, including a strengthened immune system, reduced stress and depression, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, better coping skills during hardship and an increased sense of well-being (according to the Mayo Clinic).
Most of us understand the value of being there for each other, especially during hard times. However, positive reinforcement during good times reinforces bonds and assures a friend, family member or spouse that you’ll be there during hard times. A neutral response to good news from a spouse, for example, implies apathy and that the responder is less involved in the other’s life.
It isn’t hard to find something to be grateful for every day. Thank you for this fresh air. Thank you for our daily bread. Thank you for my life.
Gratitude is a good habit to develop and it won’t cost you a cent.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal