Happy Thanksgiving 2019, everyone!  I thought today would be a great time to look at the latest trend of gratitude.

Ok, first off, it feels very strange to me that something like gratitude could be considered a trend…  Shouldn’t it be a character trait or normal reaction to the good things in our lives?  One would think…

The interesting thing here is that gratitude has indeed wound up in the same bucket as yoga and paleo.

How could we have gotten so far off track?  Using a bit of introspective magic, I see a few reasons in my own life.

We are constantly bombarded with messages reminding us of what we don’t have (yet, they hope…), and what we need and are incomplete without.  Everything from billboards to ads to social media posts.  Even as a kid, I remember getting catalogs from various department stores and mail-order houses (I know, I’m aging myself…), spending hours browsing the wonderful cornucopia (nice Thanksgiving-y word, don’t you think?) of things I could buy if I only had the money.  So, I was always focused on what I didn’t have rather than being grateful for what I had.

Most things came easy for me earlier in life.  Whether we’re talking about passing a test in school or having the things I wanted or needed provided without a lot of effort on my part, I didn’t recognize the huge value in those things.  Easy to skip gratitude for that which is easily obtained…

Frankly, though I don’t think I come off this way to others, I have a pretty huge (yet fragile) ego.  Being so focused on self, gratitude gets shoved out or ignored.

Enough about me.  Let’s talk about why gratitude is important.  (Hint: It’s not just because someone told you you should be grateful.)

Reframing – This psychological technique simply means using another way of thinking about a situation or circumstance to reduce anxiety or alleviate depression.  Gratitude is a great way to do that.

Relationships – When you show gratitude to others, you are simply more likable, and others feel more appreciated.  You’ll strengthen your relationships.

Reprioritizing – Spending time thinking about what you are grateful for can make you reflect on your values, and help you think about what’s really important to you.

That’s a lot of “re’s”…

I could get all “sciency” and discuss the studies showing the improvement in cytokines and other inflammatory biomarkers when gratitude journaling is used. But I won’t…

I did find a decent Forbes article putting the benefits in lay terms for the rest of us, though.

So, on this Thanksgiving, let’s remember it’s about more than just turkey, football, arguing about politics with family, or any other symbolic traditions you may have.  Take time today (and every day) to think about all the amazing things in your life.  Family and friends, the beauty of creation, all the times you’ve had a roof over your head and food in your belly, or just the satisfaction of listening to Holst’s “The Planets” as you write.