It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. today. And every year on this day, and in the days and weeks leading up to it, something tremendous happens.
Millions of people start getting in touch with gratitude.
Maybe you’ve noticed it in spaces like Facebook and Twitter — people taking a little time each day to focus on and share something they’re grateful for (isn’t social media fantastic for things like that?) Even better, maybe you’ve been doing it yourself, publicly or privately.
I’ve talked a lot about gratitude. I’ve written a lot about gratitude. I’ve studied gratitude intensely. Gratitude is a central feature of my life, a habit of mind I developed years ago that today is automatic for me.
Why? Because gratitude is absolutely transformational.
Here’s one remarkable thing about gratitude: It’s the ultimate antidote to negativity. You just cannot simultaneously maintain a negative mental posture and a posture of gratitude. Try it and you’ll see. Gratitude will ALWAYS win out.
Here’s another: There is an endless supply of things to be grateful for. I guarantee that right now, at this very moment, you can come up with a dozen things that make you happy, that make your life better, that you’re looking forward to or that you couldn’t live without. And if you tried, you could find another dozen sources of gratitude within each one of those first dozen!
A day dedicated to the mindfulness and expression of gratitude is a phenomenal thing. Wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re participating in it.
But do you know, you can have this day every day? And if you do, you will be stunned by the difference it makes in the way you see the world, and the way the world responds to you.
It takes time and conscious effort to develop the habit of gratitude. But it’s easy to start. Set an alarm on your phone or watch to go off at the same time each day. When it does, stop what you’re doing and spend two minutes thinking of things you’re grateful for.
There’s no “wrong” way of doing this as long as your intent is sincere. So set your mind free and don’t judge what comes up. As you get more and more comfortable with the process and it becomes easier for you to tap into gratitude and get the flow going, you might increase the length of time you spend in this state, or the number of times each day you do it.
Make a regular routine of practicing gratitude, and you’ll soon find that there simply isn’t room in your mind for any other kind of thinking. Every negative that crops up will automatically be countered with a positive, grateful, life-affirming thought. That, in turn, will make you much more attuned to the positive, life-affirming people, choices, and opportunities that are available all around you at all times.
From all of us at the Proctor Gallagher Institute, Happy Thanksgiving… today, and every day!