In my family, we have a long-standing tradition on Thanksgiving. At some point in the busy day, somewhere in between the mixed nuts and the pumpkin pie, we share with one another a list of three things we are thankful for, from the previous year. This tradition has persisted even when we can’t be together. We’ve passed our lists around the table and we’ve sent them via postcard, telephone, email–and last year, even text message.
It seems like a pretty obvious thing to do, on a holiday like Thanksgiving, right? But whenever it comes time to craft my list I always find myself struck by three things:
- I’m astonished at how many things I am thankful for. What looks at first like an arduous process always ends with me having to seriously trim my list, or at least categorize so I can fit everything.
- I always reflect on how much more it means to me to share that appreciation with the people who matter to me. Sharing gratitude is a really powerful thing.
- And finally, I always wonder why I don’t think more about these things all year round, and I end up being grateful to my Mom for “forcing” us to do it, at least once a year.
Stopping to think about what (and who) you are thankful for is one of those things that makes your heart full. I admit, writing my list always makes me a little teary-eyed. But I’m sure I’m not alone! Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for many of us, as we gather with family and friends.
And that thankfulness not only forces you to see the positive in a world that is too often filled with the negative, but it is also good for your health. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal: “adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade.”
I have to admit that this year, being part of a company that has a structured recognition program means I’m not as out of the “thank you” habit as usual. Recognition programs act a little like my Mom… encouraging us to regularly take a moment to think about what we appreciate most, and to express that in the presence of the people who matter.
So, just as we encourage you to reach out to show appreciation on a daily basis, this Thursday I encourage you take that extra moment to be reflective about your blessings, to think of what you personally are thankful for, and to let the people around you know about it.
Oh and, in case you’re curious, here are my three things (in addition to all of you):
1. I’m thankful that my little daughter has a pre-school teacher she loves so dearly and who teaches her so much.
2. I’m thankful that I was able to use my recognition awards toward a trip to Disney World, in the new year.
3. I’m thankful that I was lucky enough to find a home at Globoforce this past year. It is a dynamic and delightful company and I am humbled to be part of it (and to work for my incredible boss, who rocks beyond all words).
What are yours?