As Catholics, we follow in the footsteps of Christ – and as such, when we learn that living with awareness and purpose, as well as paying attention to what makes us feel most alive, we enable ourselves to live longer, healthier lives; experience pleasure; inspire others; hold the full range of human emotions; and cultivate more love, generosity and respect for all people, animals, and things in the world.
This holiday season is about showing gratitude for the people, places, and things in your life that you often take for granted. Thanksgiving is more than just eating a big meal and watching football; it is about expressing gratitude for the people, places, and things in your life that you often take for granted – it’s a time to take stock of your blessings and reflect on the richness in your life.
As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, it’s important for us as Catholics to consider how we might practice thankful living as a way of life rather than just as a holiday to be observed once a year.
To help you practice gratitude this Thanksgiving, below are a few illuminating insights that may guide you:
Strive to Express Gratitude Daily
Every day, express your gratitude to someone special in your life – you may even give it a go with someone with whom you’re having interpersonal difficulties. What does it feel like to vocally express your gratitude to someone you admire or care about? What effect does the expression of gratitude have on your connection with this individual?
Convey Thanks to Those Who Have Helped You
Take some time to convey your heartfelt thanks to all of the individuals who have helped you in any capacity. Explore what it feels like to take a moment to stop, smile, and establish eye contact with someone. Wish them the best of luck and mean it. Consider the impact that “giving thanks” can have on your perception of receiving from others and the world around you.
Appreciate Life and Live in the Moment
Make an effort to appreciate each and every moment. Concentrate your efforts in particular on those times when you are accomplishing things that may seem monotonous or tedious. Each and every minute of travel, red lights and all; every cleaning chore, grease-stained and all; every step of cooking, vegetable peeling and all; and every encounter with another person, no matter how difficult the situation seems to be What impact may gratitude have on your perspective on circumstances that would otherwise seem like a “chore”? How can you find happiness in any situation, no matter how tough or joyful it may be?