I was watching TV the other day and a commercial came on. The lady had a shopping bag that had the words Thanks & Giving on it. What a unique way to look at a word we use all the time! This play on words takes Thanksgiving way beyond the 3rd Thursday in November.
When I think of thanks I think of the word gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. It includes things like counting your blessings, noticing the little things, simple pleasures and acknowledging everything that you receive. What if you looked at life as if everything were a miracle? We’ve all been given so much!
Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Scientists have discovered that happiness is related to how much gratitude you show. There is even psychological research that shows the surprising life improvements as a result of the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks also makes people more resilient, strengthens relationships, improves health, and reduces stress.
Many people keep a journal and record experiences for which they are grateful. The idea is to write about at least three positive experiences on a daily basis. Examples include taking notice of something in nature, an object of beauty, a pleasant conversation with a friend, a good cup of coffee or how God worked out a situation. If you are not the journaling type, no worries. Take a moment each day and think about what you are grateful for. It could be when you first wake up, before you go to sleep, before you bless your meal or during your drive home.
The act of giving does not need to be tied to any special event, holiday or celebration – it is merely a time when you give from the heart because you want to share what you have or show your appreciation. Give because you truly care. There should not be any other motive behind it. You don’t give so that you can get something in return. You give because you want to.
Psychology Today writer Dr. Ritvo states “Giving releases the ‘Happiness Trifecta’. Helping others triggers a release of oxytocin, which has the effect of boosting your mood and counteracts the effects of cortisol (the dreaded stress hormone). Interestingly, the higher your levels of oxytocin, the more you want to help others. When oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine!”
When you give to another unselfishly, the energy emitting from your subconscious is at its strongest. The power of giving, according to neuroscience, is that it feels good. A famous American author and management expert, Ken Blanchard, declared “The more I give away, the more comes back.” And we know there is scripture that confirms this.
Giving can look a variety of ways… Opening a door for someone, helping a stranger with directions, donating money or time, giving advice and sharing wisdom are all wonderful ways to give. It could also mean that that you pray for that person on a certain day, write a card/note to someone, send a text or give someone a call.
What if you make Thanks & Giving a part of each day? Not just through this holiday season, but over the next year? Seek God’s wisdom in how you can do this each day.
I can’t wait to hear an update from you!