Culture & Lifestyle / How To Really Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

How To Really Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

Culture & Lifestyle Oct 09, 2015

This Thanksgiving, instead of fixating on the fixings, focus on gratitude.

Gratitude is more than just a feeling. It’s a state of being. You have to feel gratitude to benefit from its effects rather than thinking that you should be grateful.
Research has proven that experiencing gratitude and actively engaging in this practice is correlated with increased life satisfaction and vitality, higher levels of well being, better sleep, less self-centeredness and more optimism. If all this isn’t enough, research has further demonstrated that the feeling of gratitude boosts your immune system, decreases blood pressure, decreases stress hormones and reduces depression. 
Why is it, then, that the art of gratitude has not yet become the norm? Why aren’t our kids being taught gratitude practice in schools? Why aren’t organizations and workplaces commonly embracing this concept in their workshops or in leadership training?  
It’s become a world of entitlement. It's a world where gratitude, appreciation and giving can be seen as a ploy to garner more likes, followers and hits — a tool used to gather numbers, eyeballs and popularity. Of course with the voyeuristic society at hand, it's easy to think twice before wanting to give back or appreciate someone's idea of doing the same.

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The idea of serving and giving back is ingrained in our culture with "seva" being one of the key mantras to an enriching life. Doing "seva" has always been a part of our culture. So, this Thanksgiving, it's time to recharge your seva energy and give each other the gift of gratitude. There many ways to engage in this practice. Here are just three simple practices that you can start right away. If you have children, encourage them to practice with you.
1.  Keep a gratitude journal beside your bed. Every morning or night, make a list of five things/events/people that made you feel grateful. Don’t just think of the big ticket items (like, I won the lottery!) but the simplest ones. In fact, the simpler the better. Finding the beauty in smaller gratitudes is key to life satisfaction. Things like: “I am grateful for the smile from the barista this morning."
2.  Pick a charity or an organization. Acts of kindness lead to feelings of gratitude. Donating your time to be of service to others is a great way to invite gratitude into your life. Here are just a few organizations that would benefit from your love and kindness: South Asian Women’s Centre, South Asian Philanthropy Project, Sakhi for South Asian Women, Maitri, Mentor Me India and the South Asian Mental Health Alliance. Reflect on your values, do your research and decide where you want to channel your energy.     
3.  Try this fun activity during your Thanksgiving dinner: Have everyone write down three things they are grateful for at the present moment. (Use coloured paper and markers to make it more vibrant and fun.) Then fold up the responses and drop them into a bowl. Pass the bowl around the table, asking each person to pick up a random paper. Take turns reading the gratitudes out loud and guessing who wrote them.
Incorporating gratitude into your everyday life will help you shift your mindset and cultivate compassion.
How many other creative ways can you extend gratitude to yourself and to others? Explore, engage and build this life-altering practice. 
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Dimple Mukherjee

Dimple Mukherjee


Dimple Mukherjee is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience and has obtained specific training in Health Coaching through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  She is the founder of Whole Self Consulting and is passionate about helping South Asian working mothers to reinve...


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