Thanksgiving is about reflecting on and appreciating all of the good things that we have in our lives.
Many people will sit around their Thanksgiving dinner table and share something that they feel grateful for, and this is a wonderful way to set the tone for a heartfelt gathering.
But instead of just sharing one thing that you’re grateful for, although you could do that…
Here’s a simple practice that will help you bring another dimension of gratitude to your Thanksgiving table
Everyone that gathers at your table brings something unique to it.
And so, instead of sharing something you’re grateful for, how about appreciating someone that you’re grateful for? While sitting at your table, I invite you to share with your guests, “Let’s share something we’re grateful for about the person to our left. I’ll start!”
Then, you initiate the first gratitude. Turn to the person on your left and share something that you appreciate about this person.
Even if this person is a stranger that someone else has brought, and this is the first time you’ve met them, think of something you appreciate about what little you know or have seen of them so far.
For example: they may have a nice smile, a warm demeanor or seem very willing to help out with setting the table, and you really appreciate that about them!
Once you’re finished, that person then turns to the person on their left to share a gratitude, and then so on and so on.
Some of what is shared will be deep and profound, some of it may be more superficial and funny, this is all ok!
The intention is to tune yourself to the frequency of gratitude and appreciation, and to speak that gratitude out loud.
Why is this important?
Research that was done at Pennsylvania State University on the difference between thinking gratitude and speaking gratitude.
Researchers found there’s a number of physical benefits that come out of speaking and living from gratitude, including improved blood pressure and immune system.
Now ideally, we want to live from and speak from gratitude on a regular, consistent basis – but Thanksgiving is a day when we can really practice speaking gratitude in a whole new way.
As each person moves around the table, sharing something they appreciate about the person on their left, before the circle is complete, everyone will have shifted into a vibration gratitude.
This will make for a more heartfelt and fulfilling gathering for all!
Years ago, my husband decided to speak some gratitude
My husband, Joe, grew up in a singing family. His entire family regularly sang together.
Joe later grew up to become a gifted professional singer, a career he loves with all of his heart and soul.
One year, on a particular holiday, Joe’s family was supposed to sing at the church they went to. The church was filled to the brim with 300 people.
As a little seven year old boy, Joe had never sung in public before. He was very, very nervous.
When the moment came that he and his family went on stage and were supposed to start singing, Joe opened his mouth, and no sound came out!
He was terrified and embarrassed, and thought about running off the stage to hide.
He looked into the audience, and sitting there near the front was a woman named Mrs. Bryant, the mother of his big brother’s friend.
Mrs. Bryant looked right into Joe’s eyes and just smiled this great big smile
Seeing this put Joe at ease. He was able to take a breath, and then, he could sing!
Many, many decades later, Joe found himself thinking about Mrs. Bryant.
He thought, “You know, if Mrs. Bryant hadn’t smiled at me that day when I was a child, I would have been so afraid, I wouldn’t have been able to sing. I would have been ashamed. I might never have given myself permission to become a singer and had the life that I’ve had.”
So my husband wrote Mrs. Bryant a thank you letter decades after that smile and said, “When I was a seven years old, you gave warmth and the confidence that I could take a breath and I could sing.”
Joe went on to tell her how much that moment had shaped his life, and said, “Thank you for my singing career.”
Years later, when Joe and I were standing together at his father’s funeral, Mrs. Bryant’s son approached us.
Joe said to him, “You know, I wrote your mother a letter about five years ago.”
Mrs. Bryant’s son said, “Not only did you write a letter to her, she kept it in her wallet. She read that letter many, many times herself and often, she would bring it out at meals and share that letter with all of us about the power of saying how grateful you are for someone.”
I know that hearing this made Joe feel good, and we know that it made Mrs. Bryant feel good, too.
Here’s the truth: You and I can express our gratitude
Now, here’s a question for you…
What’s one person in your life that you feel grateful for? Go ahead and share this with me in the comments below.
You don’t have to name the person – you can just say “my daughter,” or “my brother,” or “my husband” if you prefer.
But I invite you to share something that they bring into your life that you’re grateful for. I’d love to hear from you!