Making my gratitude list is simple this Thanksgiving Day. Simple, but important. For years we have heard how gratitude improves our health, relationships, even our careers; apparently there is little that can’t be made better with intentional thanks. Oprah tells us: “Being grateful is by far the single most powerful thing you can do to change your life.” Not surprising, Huffington Post claims that teaching our children gratitude in school will help them become happier too. A new study proposes starting with elementary students by using a pioneering curriculum:
First, children learned about the three types of appraisals that make us feel grateful:
- That someone has intentionally done something to benefit us
- That providing this benefit was costly to them
- That the benefit is valuable to us
After the five-week course “children showed steady increases in grateful thinking, gratitude, and positive emotions… The researchers found that those who were more likely to feel grateful to others also scored higher on academic interest, grades, and extracurricular involvement.” Well, what’s good for kids is good for the rest of us, right? Perhaps we can all take a moment to acknowledge those who give generously to us. Today, I am moved to do just that.
Family. Readers of Nine Cent Girl know of my eclectic and vast family: aunts and uncles, cousins galore, siblings and parents, spouse and children. The love that bounces between generations, fostered at reunions big and small, cultivated anew each holiday season, is a gift like no other. There is no endeavor that anyone in my family undertakes where they are alone. On the stage? Audiences are sprinkled with relatives. Win an award? Expect an avalanche of congratulations. Write a blog? Yes, you will have loyal family readers. Generosity of time, and accolades, and opportunity are there for me at every turn. Today I give a warm thank you to my family scattered all over the globe!
Health. Connected to family, in my case, is good health. Not a morning begins when I am not aware of my good fortune. Besides a few creaks, I bound up to meet the day, without medication or limitations. I can walk for as long as I want and engage in any athletic avenue I dare to. Good health, is like winning the lottery and I never want to treat it as anything other than good fortune. With regular exercise, eating real food and sleeping well, I am able to maintain what I have been gifted. I am so very thankful for being taught and nurtured to live in such a manner!
Love. I am steeped in love, from friends, from my spouse and my children. Daily, countless people grant me generosity of the sort that only comes from love. Starting from day one I have been cherished, and know what it is to be forgiven and accepted, time and time again. Love has opened doors and cleared roadways at every turn in my life and for all that sweetness I can only sing my appreciation.
Eckhart Tolle reminds us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, that will be enough.” Perhaps today, and tomorrow, we can help each other to follow this sage advice and find the happiness we all seek.