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Because Gratitude

Thanksgiving. A lovely reminder to be grateful.

11-25 Leaves on LG Creek Trail
Grateful for the fall leaves, for sunlight, for new ideas to explore…

What does gratitude do for us?

Once upon a time, when life had most definitely “happened,” and I was feeling pretty down, I received this advice:

Once a day, write down three things that made you smile.

Initially, I dismissed the idea. I wasn’t in the mood to smile.

Still, I began to look for things. And I found a few: the antics of a cute kitten, a sunset, fall leaves.

I wrote them down (still skeptical).

But, I began to feel better. Looking for the positive things (those things we feel grateful for) makes us see more positive things. It starts a reinforcing, uplifting cycle.

As Brother David Steindl-Rast says…

It’s not happiness that makes us grateful.

It’s gratefulness that makes us happy.

As I mentioned last year at this time, we’re physically, psychologically, and socially better off when we remember and express gratitude. It blocks negative emotions, staves off depression, reduces stress, and gives us a higher sense of self-worth.

So, Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday, but it can be more than an end in itself. It can be a giant reminder to make a habit of counting our blessings—not just for the one day, but until the next Thanksgiving comes.


Video | Gratefulness Makes Us Happy

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