I bet you haven’t thought about how Thanksgiving and resilience are related. But, this United States holiday is one of the best at boosting resilience.
How, you ask?
Thanksgiving is a time when we stop to reflect on the people and things we are thankful for. We express gratitude for what is good in our lives and the world around us. Why can’t we do that every day of the year?
Practicing gratitude is essential for resilience and is the first action step for mastering the Resilience Ready Principle, Praise.
A Ray of Light
One day early-on during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was talking with Raymond Gazaway, a dear friend and mentor, about the seriousness of the situation. We turned our attention toward the window. The beauty of spring was beginning to unfold. We looked at the trees budding and flowers blooming.
Though we had seen them before, we hadn’t viewed them with the same sense of gratitude for their beauty and existence. He reminded me that in our living and breathing, we could take in the sights, sounds, and smells of each season, and find gratitude in our presence among them. In spite of the loss and everything going on around us, we were still here and still had a chance to live purposefully, even if what we were about to go through might be extremely difficult.
A practice of gratitude can help you find a ray of light in your darkest moments. Here are 3 simple ways to make it a habit.
3 Ways to Find Gratitude in Uncertainty & Change
- Make Gratitude a Daily Practice
Find a time when you can be still and block out the chaos for even a few minutes. Take a moment upon waking in the morning or before bed in the evening for meditation and reflection. You may step outside to breathe the fresh air and enjoy the beauty of nature around you. In my life, my faith in God and prayer help keep me grateful and hopeful. My power and my strength come from my faith. I am thankful for my parents who instilled these virtues as we grew up.
- Ask Yourself the Question
Practicing gratitude begins with simply asking yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Here are some areas you might consider:
- Another day of life and health for you, your family, your friends, and your team
- Love and happiness
- What went well today
- The warmth of the sun and the beauty around you
- The people you work with and the spirit of partnership you’ve developed
- Those whom you have the opportunity to invest in and support.
You can probably think of other ideas now that I’ve gotten you started.
- Give Gratitude Away
Gratitude is even better for you when you give it away. Share what you are grateful for with others. A simple ‘thank you’ to those who have helped you in some way or extended kindness will leave you feeling more positive, as well as brighten their day.
Gratitude Restores Peace and Hope
As heavy as the load may be for me at times, a reminder that God is still there seeing me through the storm helps to uplift my spirit. I can honor God and find greater peace by giving Him my attention, gratitude, and praise.
In the midst of stress that can sometimes feel overwhelming, reconnecting with your personal core values and these practices of gratitude can restore peace and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of gratitude, I recommend this article, The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief, at PositivePsychology.com.