It’s officially November and Turkey Day is just around the corner. In a few days most of America will be sitting around a big table with their family eating as much as they can get their hands on. Thanksgiving originated in 1621 when Natives and Pilgrims joined together in a feast giving thanks for their harvest in the New World, but sometimes we forget this. This holiday—like many similar days such as Christmas and Easter—has become so commercialized with huge parades and gourmet meals that people lose sight of this day’s purpose. The whole reason this holiday started was centered around gratitude and humility, something that could be used a lot more than it currently is. Now, I don’t want to sound pessimistic, because I know many people, including myself, have family traditions where we each person around the table says something they are grateful for. Though we do this, I still don’t believe people truly understand how much there is to be grateful for and how fortunate most of us are. To help bring about a good feeling of gratitude this season, here are four things you need to know.
1. Write it down!
It has been proven that writing things down helps you to think more clearly and remember things better. One idea for doing this is keeping a gratitude journal. Write a couple things down that you were grateful for each day! Spending 5 minutes on this instead of on Twitter will greatly influence the way you think for the better. You will soon find that it is easier to see the positive and the good that comes from negative experiences too. Doing this will help you get unstuck in the past and looking forward for the next day.
2. Accept the negative!
The Huffington post tells us that “Emmons says that while we often associate gratitude with focusing on the good and avoiding the bad, the key to leading a thankful life is embracing setbacks as part of your overall journey.” Embracing both the negative and positive in your life will help you to living a fuller life. Recalling a bad experience in your life will likely help you to feel grateful that you were able to overcome it and be prepared to handle future setbacks.
3. Sensibly use social media!
Social media is both a blessing and a curse. It can bring about some of the most positive and uplifting messages while also tearing us down with impossible conformity standards. And let’s not forget how much time we waste there... Anyway, this wonderful technology can be used for good! Use your Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. for good, positive messages for your peers and family members. Also, try to spend less time each day focusing on a small screen of virtual reality when there is an amazing world of great people to interact with! When in a public place, I challenge you to look up and talk to someone. This may scare you to death, but it will be so worth it when you are able to make new friends and build stronger bonds with current ones.
4. Spend time with loved ones and serve!
It is so important to realize that you didn’t get to where you are by yourself. So many people love you, and when you spend time strengthening those relationships, it is easier to see the good in things. Also, tell others how much you love them—express your appreciation and focus on them for a moment and not yourself. An easy way to start this is to ask others how their day is going and actually listen. Listen to what they have to say instead of thinking of what you are going to say next. You will learn a lot about the person, they will feel appreciated, your relationship will strengthen over time, and you will feel more gratitude for them in your life.
Try these four simple things this thanksgiving season and I promise you won’t regret it. You will feel more satisfaction with your life and have a greater perspective. This will not only help you bear the monotony of school time every week, but it will allow you—if you try—to find something everyday to look forward to and be thankful for.