If your family is anything like mine, the holidays can get hectic, and beautiful intentions of loving kindness can sometimes fall to the wayside amongst the hustle-bustle. This Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving), consider adopting a gratitude practice to your holiday dinner. It is sure to enhance feelings of appreciation, positivity and joy, while giving each member of your gathering a chance to listen, contribute and share in the holiday that celebrates appreciation, recognition and kindness.
What is Gratitude?
Gratitude has become something of a buzzword, but for the sake of this article, let’s focus on these beautiful meanings behind the word gratitude:
- Recognition of goodness
Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
Many studies show that expressions of gratitude boost positive feelings and states of being—from hope and optimism, to happiness and vitality. Scientists and psychologists agree that a daily gratitude practice is tremendously helpful in cultivating lasting happiness and joy. This practice allows us to find the good in even the most challenging days, creating an optimistic head space that enhances feelings of joy and pleasure.
In order to express gratitude on a daily basis, we recommend keeping a daily gratitude journal. This simple practice will help you to find the good in even the most challenging days, creating an optimistic head space that enhances your mental and emotional well-being. However, your gratitude practice does not need to be limited to your personal practice. Consider spreading the love by incorporating others into your gratitude practice—friends, family, partners, coworkers, etc.-by creating gratitude circles.
What is a Gratitude Circle?
A gratitude circle is an intentional gathering for expressing appreciation. It is a sacred space where people can share, listen, and connect. In this ceremonial activity, each individual has a chance to state that which they are thankful for.
I recommend that each person expresses 1-3 points of appreciation, allowing for conversation to naturally unfold around each point. Appreciation can be an inspiring jumping off point to share stories, connections and reflections with your nearest and dearest. Let the gratitude circle conversation flow naturally, but keep it positive and respectful. When the conversation dies, make sure that the next person’s turn to share is honored, and that all members of the gratitude circle return to listening intently, to fully receive the gift of shared gratitude.
The Benefits of a Gratitude Circle
Gratitude circles are excellent means of positive reflection, but they also serve to strengthen the bonds between family and friends. Sharing in feelings of appreciation can open doors to mutual support, positive encouragement and meaningful affirmations that deepen relationships. If you choose to expand the practice into a recurring ritual, you will find yourself habitually experiencing feelings of appreciation and positivity when in the company of members of your gratitude circle.
Gratitude circles can extend far beyond the holiday season, and do not need to be practiced in large groups. Next time you have a couple friends over for a gathering, brew up some Tulsi tea and get the gratitude conversation going. Call a friend or family member over the phone to catch up, and before saying goodbye, ask them if they’d like to share 3 points of gratitude to end the conversation with positivity and appreciation. Ask your roommate or partner if they’d like to make gratitude exchange sessions a weekly or nightly ritual before bed.
Exchanging expressions of gratitude only takes about 2-5 minutes, and the payoff is immense. Get grateful and start spreading the love today! It will truly feed your spirit, uplift your relationships and change your life.
My family does not have many traditions, but expressing gratitude on Thanksgiving is a non-negotiable ritual for our annual gathering. Something changes in the room when we intentionally express deep appreciation for one-another, nourishing food, abundance, and life. The conversation slows down and assumes a peaceful, loving tone. The chatter ceases. We chew more slowly. We listen more intently. We love more gracefully.
Choose gratitude. Choose happiness. Choose love.
Happy holiday season! The world is a loving and abundant place - give thanks!
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About the Author
Abigail Wolff, Brand Manager for ORGANIC INDIA USA
Abby fell in love with the power of plants through her work in environmental policy and food systems. Abby is the Brand Manager for Organic India, where she practices her passion for environmental stewardship and healthy, conscious living.