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The Importance of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

By Diana Raab November 17, 2021 Mindset

“May the gratitude in my heart kiss all the universe.”

—Hafiz

I’ve always considered November to be the month of gratitude. This is not to say that gratitude shouldn’t be practiced every month of the year, but during this month, I believe it’s particularly important to make it a priority.

Those closest to me know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, likely because it is a secular holiday and one that reflects a sense of interconnectedness among people and cultures. Now in my 60s, and having a broad perspective on life, I believe we need to honor and celebrate this day more than ever.

Each year, my children, grandchildren, and often an additional invited guest or two, join us at our family home for a Thanksgiving celebration. We all help to prepare the food, rejoicing that we are together. Some years, we have a memorable honoring, where each person at the table says something special about everyone else. It’s a way to give thanks for those we cherish.

From Celebrating Harvest to Gathering Together

Originally celebrated as a day to give thanks for the previous year’s harvest, Thanksgiving has evolved into a holiday for gathering together and expressing gratitude for our blessings.

For me, Thanksgiving is a reminder to appreciate all the good in life. This can include beloved family, friends, and colleagues as well as fruitful lifestyles, good health, and wellness. The most wonderful aspect about this holiday is how it tends to focus us onto all things positive and away from gift-giving for materialistic motivations.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds me that there’s more to be thankful for than be sad about. My beloved father taught me the power of positive thinking – specifically, to look at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. After nearly two years of pandemic living, it will be a welcomed relief to gather with our loved ones to celebrate.

We need to continually remind ourselves of the importance of incorporating gratitude into our stream of consciousness. Remember, even if it seems as if we’ve hit rock bottom, there is always hope that we will come out on the other side.

For those who have experienced a recent loss, feeling gratitude might be more difficult. However, there is always something to be grateful for, even when feeling alone and lonely. You may want to be by yourself and that’s okay.

If there might be someone to share the holiday with, maybe you’d consider reaching out to that person. Just know that whatever type of Thanksgiving you decide to celebrate, it will be just right for you.

What Are We Thankful for?

Thanksgiving might also be a good time to jot down all that we’re thankful for. Expressing gratitude through writing produces a sense of appreciation, and also reduces stress and strengthens emotional resilience.

In my book, Writing for Bliss: The Companion Journal, there are a few pages of journaling prompts pertaining to gratitude. Here are a few to consider:

Feeling Thankful: Write about what you are grateful for, even on difficult days.

New-Found Gratitude: Write about something you are grateful for now that you once thought you didn’t need.

Feeling Lucky: Write about one privilege that you’ve taken for granted.

If you’re into poetry, you can find lots of poems online to help you celebrate Thanksgiving. Here’s part of the song “Grateful: A Love Song to the World” by Nimo Patel feat. Daniel Nahmod:

All that I am 
All that I see 
All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be 
Is a blessing 
It’s so amazing 
And I’m grateful for it all, for it all

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How do you celebrate usually? What will Thanksgiving look like for you this year?

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The Author

Diana Raab, PhD, is memoirist, blogger, speaker, and award-winning author of 10 books, and numerous articles. She often writes and speaks on writing for healing and transformation. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Program for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life and Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal. Explore her books and Conversation Cards for Meaningful Storytelling.

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