“Recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships.”
In a day or two, people in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Culturally, this is an important holiday in America and is becoming better known around the world in recent years. As a school, we have traditionally taken one or two days off at this point in the semester to allow our community to observe the holiday but also because it has shown to be a helpful break for our students before the last few crazy weeks of school.
I am known on campus as a little bit of a “scrooge” because I do not think we should be playing Christmas music and decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving is over. One of the reasons I am trying to hold back the tide of early Christmas carolers and decorators is that I really like what is at the heart of the Thanksgiving holiday. I don’t want to lose the spirit of Thanksgiving in the preparations for Christmas. I appreciate that an entire country has decided that it is important to stop and observe thankfulness; to take time to be with family and “count your blessings.”
I am sure all of us are thankful for something in our lives, but as humans we tend to look at all the negative things around us and focus on them instead. Knowing this, the Bible encourages us to be thankful and to count our “blessings”. What is ironic about this is that if we do take the time to focus on our “blessings” and be thankful for them, that mindfulness in and of itself brings blessing. In an article about teaching children to be grateful, Dr. Caron Goode states, “Recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships.” In fact, scientific studies show that if you consistently incorporate gratitude into your life, you will be about 15% happier than those who do not.
This year it is harder to be grateful due to Covid. The pandemic has taken so much away from us. Yet amid the restrictions and disappointments, we can all be thankful and grateful for something, and when we do, it helps us journey through the difficult times just a little bit better.
I’d encourage families this week to take time together to look at all that you can be thankful for. If we take time to “give thanks” we will have accomplished what is at the heart of the holiday celebration of Thanksgiving.