When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner and look at your plate, heaped high with turkey, potatoes and gravy, do something before you pick up your fork. Give yourself a hefty serving of gratitude to go with the meal. After all, what is a Thanksgiving feast without gratitude? That what the holiday is all about.
Many of us forget the fact that the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday revolves around the central theme of gratitude. Too often, we don’t remember to be grateful for what we have or receive on Thanksgiving or on any other day of the year.
The reason for this is simple: We become so involved in the negative dramas of our lives that we see only the unwanted things, like the stress-filled job, the uncaring spouse, the stack of bills we can’t pay, the doctor’s prognosis, the misbehaved children, the lack of time. Take another look at your life. You always can find something for which to be grateful— the sun in the sky, a friend, the weekend, a warm place to sleep, the five dollars in your pocket, the dog who licks your hand in passing. It doesn’t matters how much or how little you have. You still can feel grateful for and acknowledge what you possess.
Thanksgiving offers a wonderful opportunity to remember the things for which you feel grateful and to practice having what some have called “an attitude of gratitude.” I’ve heard it said that a prayer of gratitude represents the strongest prayer of all, and I agree. I was taught to include gratitude in my prayers and thoughts every day—gratitude for what I have as well as for what I will receive. And what better time to start such a practice or to deepen an existing one than on a holiday created solely for giving thanks.
How to Serve Up Gratitude
This Thanksgiving, I suggest taking the following four steps to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving and serve up a large portion of gratitude.
First, before the meal begins, go around the dinner table and give each person a chance to offer gratitude for at least one thing. Begin simply by saying, “Something I’m grateful for is….” and fill in the blank. Let the guests share as many specific things for which they feel grateful as they can remember. They can continue after their first share by saying, “And something else I’m grateful for is…” If someone’s turn has passed and they suddenly think of something else they want to add, let them do so between other people’s turns or at the end. This practice sets the whole tone of your meal. And don’t let anyone off the hook. Everyone must share at least one thing for which they feel grateful.
Say Gratitude Prayers
The second step to creating a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving involves prayer. Join hands and offer a blessing on the food and the company at the table. Say a prayer of thanksgiving. Doing so always sheds a warm, spiritual light on a meal, and it puts God into the picture, which reminds you that the Divine might have something to do with your good fortune. Religious context doesn’t matter for these types of prayers. In fact, offer a heartfelt prayer that doesn’t associate itself with any one religion. If you prefer to stick with religiously oriented prayers and the company at your table has different religious beliefs, let each person from a different religion offer a prayer of gratitude from his or her own tradition.
Share Stories of Gratitude
Third, ask people to bring to the holiday table their favorite quotes or stories about gratitude or Thanksgiving. During the meal, take turns reading these aloud. It’s nice to hear the words of others or to share touching memories about a holiday. It gives depth to the holiday and a positive overall feeling to the celebration. In addition, such stories remind us of other things for which we can feel grateful.
Envision a Future that Fills You with Gratitude
Fourth, before everyone gets up from the table—maybe over coffee and pie, focus everyone’s attention on the things they expect to receive over the next year. Vocalizing your intentions to manifest things in the future provides a wonderful vehicle for actually having them manifest in your life. And the best way to allow these wonderful gifts into your experiences lies in affirming that they already are coming to you.
In fact, it’s a powerful exercise to offer gratitude for them as if you were experiencing them in the moment, right at the Thanksgiving table. For example, you might say, “I am so grateful for the five percent raise I received at work,” “I am so grateful for the wonderful health I am now experiencing,” or “I am so grateful that I can enjoy my sleek, trim, body, which weighs just 140 pounds.” The more specific you get about these goals and desires, the better. Not only do these invocations make you feel better, because they affirm that what you need or want is coming your way, but they have a way of attracting what you desire into your life.
With just a little effort, you’ll find you can fill your Thanksgiving experience with a heaping portion of gratitude. If you do, you’ll find the food on your plate tastes that much sweeter this year.
If you want to Achieve More Inspired Results in all areas of your life—and feel gratitude more often as well as create things for which you can feel thankful, I’d be happy to discuss how High Performance Coaching might help you fulfill your potential and live your life with more clarity, courage, energy, productivity, and influence—and success. To set up a 1-hour FREE High Performance Coaching session, click here. Then download the free session application, and submit it. I’ll contact you to schedule your session time. (Find out how to receive a FREE ticket to Brendon Burchard’s next High Performance Academy – valued at $1,997.)