ThanksGiving Prescription: Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle

Think of Thanksgiving as a platform to express, feel and share gratitude. 

It’s easy, with all this Black Thursday Night and Black Friday talk, to think of Thanksgiving as a commercially made up holiday.  But it’s not.  It’s certainly at risk of being hijacked by the money changers, but still, it was created to observe a moment in spirit.  A moment of abundance, community and fulfillment. 

Many of you are up to your ears in last minute work or travel plans.  But don’t let that distract from the opportunity at hand: Give thanks.  In Today We Are Rich, I talk about how my grandmother Billye always reminded me that gratitude is a muscle, not a feeling.  “If it was a feeling,” she’d say, “you’d feel it all the time!” 

So, the key to staying gracious (gratitude is a compound word: Gracious+Attitude), is to flex your mental ability to sense bounty, attribute it correctly and express your feelings accordingly.  There’s no time like Thanksgiving to do that, without raising any suspicions amongst the cynics.  Here’s what I recommend for tomorrow, before the Turkey and football: 

1 – Itemize your support system: Spiritual, Family, Friends, Work and Community.  Think of their intentions towards you, how much they love you or are aligned with your goals.  Always start gratitude exercises out focused on the sources of abundance (people, God, etc.) and not the symptoms of abundance (wealth, stuff, luxuries).  

2 – Review how much your supporters have done for you over the last year.  Don’t forget to include the smallest gestures, often, they are the ones that make the biggest difference to us.  Think of how far you’ve come in the last year, and how you couldn’t do it by yourself. 

3 – Invest a sitcom’s worth of time writing a note or making a phone call to one-loving-soul to share your feelings and express your gratitude.  There’s an old saying that’s appropriate here: Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift, but never giving it.”  You’ll find that this part of the exercise leads to a real feeling of abundance on your part – far more effective than merely counting your blessings. 

4 – Now, as a leader, help others in your life do this too.  Be public about your exercise and encourage others to join you. Don’t let the Thanksgiving Grump have his way, push him to admit that he’s not alone in life, and that others are there for him.  This is the season to realize that we have so much to be thankful for, and there are so many forces in the world that want to take that feeling away from us – because scarcity is the ultimate motivator of men to act. 

Express your gratitude in comments, and experience the joy of expressed-thanks.  Thanks to Sue Jenks for the graphic above, which I found this AM on my Top Stories feed on Facebook.