For the past couple of years, I watched as friends posted their 30 Days of Thankfulness on Facebook. Sometimes I would post a blanket thanks for my overall blessings, but that was as far as it went.
I have several friends who regularly keep a Gratitude Journal or Journal of Abundance. In fact, it seems like I’ve been seeing almost monthly articles — both on-line and in print — about the power of gratitude to make a positive impact in everyday life. I thought why not give it a try in November.
So this year, I participated in the 30 Days of Thankfulness, dutifully posting on Facebook my daily thoughts of appreciation. I tried to tie each thanks to something that happened that day — a meaningful church celebration, time spent with family and friends, thoughts about love ones. What I found was that once I started thinking about things to be thankful for, I kept finding more.
November was an interesting month for me, full of changes in my work and home life. Whenever something would happen that could have made me upset or depressed, I weighed it against the good things and told myself not to dwell on it.
In my profession I work with several counselors, so I have learned some points about different therapy models over the years. In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, there is a triangle that is used to explain an aspect of this module.
(Image from psychminded.files.wordpress.com)
Basically, the triangle illustrates that how a person thinks affects how that person feels which affects what that person does which affects how that person thinks. Someone who focuses on negative thoughts feels negatively which influences her to act in negative ways and reinforces the negative thoughts. Focusing on positive thoughts can lead to positive feelings and positive actions, reinforcing positive thoughts.
I think this is the benefit of expressing thankfulness, gratitude and abundance — a way to reinforce positive thoughts, feelings and actions.
Now that November is over, I won’t be posting my thanks every day. But I do plan to take time to reflect on my blessings. My foray into thankfulness gave me some perspective. Even on my worst day, there are many people in this world who would be willing to change places with me. My problems would still seem like blessings to them.
So this season, instead of longing for what I don’t have, I plan for concentrate on all the things to be thankful for.