By Yvonne Milosevic
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and frankly, we’re so here for it. After spending the 2020 holiday season hunkered down alone, we can’t wait to safely enjoy all the merriment we missed out on last year. So, bring on the bubbly and stretchy pants for everybody!
Since the Blacklight’s launch in February 2019, we’ve often touched on the importance of expressing appreciation for the little things in life. Although the pandemic has affected us in different ways, we can all find something to be thankful for this year. With that in mind, we’re resurfacing some of the wisdom we’ve previously dropped to remind us of the benefits of tapping into the power of gratitude.
To our US-based readers, a very happy Thanksgiving to you! And to everyone, we hope the 2021 holidays bring you all the good stuff your heart desires.
But Before You Go to Bed Tonight…
Ask yourself, “What good have I done today?” Benjamin Franklin, a model of productivity if there ever was one, incorporated this question into his evening routine. You don’t need to think in terms of virtuous acts. Just write down what went well, or not so well, during the day. This is a way of processing what you learn, recognizing moments that deserve your gratitude, and acknowledging any challenges you encountered. Taking time to reflect on your day allows you to focus on areas where you can improve.
Many studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude helps reduce stress and anxiety. If your evening routine includes taking a few minutes to write down what you’re grateful for, you go to bed with your brain trained on positive thoughts. Neil Pasricha, the author of The Happiness Equation, has found that getting hyper-specific is the key to success with this tenet.
“Writing down things like ‘my apartment, my mom, and my job’ over and over doesn’t do anything,” he notes. “I had to write down things like, ‘the way the sunset looks over the hostel across the street,’ or ‘when my mom dropped off leftover matter paneer,’ or ‘having lunch in the cafeteria with Agostino today’.”
Expressing gratitude on the regular can improve our friendships, romantic relationships, and our professional lives, too.
Gratitude is Seeing the Glass Half-Full
So, even if work kinda sucks right now, you can likely still find things to feel grateful for. In fact, your “loathsome” post probably has one or more perks than someone else envies.
Your earnings might be helping you save up for a down payment on your first home or pay off student loan debt. Maybe your income allows your partner to work less and stay home with the kiddos or helps pay for their terrific school. Perhaps your salary makes it possible to maintain a struggling family member. In short, the money you earn makes your hopes and dreams a reality.
When you practice gratitude, you take stock of all that is good in your world instead of creating a laundry list of everything you hate or lack. Honestly, if you could do just one thing to increase your health and happiness, conveying gratitude is it.
As Zig Zigler said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”