We all have so much to be thankful for. It’s great that we have a holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us to count our blessings. By definition, it’s the most positive day of the year. If you were to continually watch television news, read newspapers, and listen to talk radio hosts, you’d probably come to the conclusion that we’re all going to hell in a hand basket. We’re not. And there’s a lot to be thankful for, even in this economy.
Having an attitude of gratitude serves us all in so many ways. Being thankful has been clinically proven to help people live longer. It’s just healthier to be thankful than to be bitter. It’s better for us emotionally also. So many aspects of our lives are affected by our emotions and being thankful is a great coping mechanism in good times and bad times.
Knowing that gratitude is a great attitude, it stands to reason that we can also help other people by becoming more grateful. Ever notice that people who have a pleasant disposition are more enjoyable to be around? You don’t need a Harvard Business Review white paper and a bunch of letters after your name to understand this. By being grateful and adopting the habit of gratitude, it will have a ripple effect on other people. People will start to enjoy being around you more.
There are certain kids that you would never let your kids hang around with. Why’s that? Because we know that those kids will have an effect on our kids. And adults are just kids with long, hairy legs. We become like the people we associate with. By becoming a little more positive, we affect other people, which in turn comes back and affects us. So by becoming a little more positive, which happens automatically when we develop the habit of gratitude, we are actually making our own lives a little better through other people.
For most people, the only recognition they ever get, is when they screw something up. And they usually know they’ve screwed it up and don’t need other folks holding it over their heads. I’m no management guru, but here’s a simple tip: sneak up and catch people doing something right. A simple way to do this is with gratitude. Let people know that you appreciate them. Find something that you appreciate about them and let them know about it. And be specific. Don’t say, “You’re a really nice person.” Say, “I really like the way you handled that tough situation. You did it with grace when other folks would have blown a gasket. I appreciate that about you. You’re a nice person.”
Take a few moments and count your blessings. Genuinely think about your relationships with your spouse, your kids, your parents, your boss, your co-workers, and your clients. Be thankful for these people. And then let them know that you appreciate them. Surprise them with small, unexpected, inexpensive signs of appreciation.
Give thanks on Thanksgiving. And then give thanks the day after Thanksgiving. And then the day after that. And so on. Develop the attitude of gratitude. When you wake up in the morning as your eyes are slowly opening, lay in bed for an extra sixty seconds, stare at the ceiling and say “Thank you.” Every day can be the most positive day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving.