The Attitude of Gratitude

On Thanksgiving, the point of focus is (or should be) gratitude.

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What exactly is it?

Gratitude is defined as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful” and “readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

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Why should I practice the attitude of gratitude?

Gratitude allows us to stop focusing on what our lives might be lacking, and instead focus on our abundance. By practicing gratitude, we can affirm that there is goodness in the world and acknowledge that much of that goodness comes from other people, and/or (depending on your beliefs) a higher power. Knowing this encourages us to appreciate, and to “pay it forward”.

Many studies have documented social, physical and psychological benefits of gratitude, including:

  • increased happiness and life satisfaction
  • boosted feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm and other positive emotions
  • reduction of anxiety and depression
  • strengthened immune system
  • lowered blood pressure
  • reduced symptoms of illness, aches and pains
  • better quality sleep
  • increased emotional resilience (ex. recovering from PTSD)
  • strengthened relationships
  • greater willingness to be helpful, altruistic and compassionate
  • etc…

Easier said than done …

It all sounds wonderful, but what about for the natural pessimists? How can I be grateful for everything when I don’t always feel that way?

It is true. Adopting the attitude is easier said than done for many people; which is why it’s known as a “practice”. Gratitude is a learned skill that you can improve with practice. There are countless books, studies and articles that teach you what steps to take in order to become a truly grateful person. One of my favorites is Learned Optimism by Martin E.P. Seligman. He discusses breaking unhealthy habits and changing them into positive ones. Another is The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan. This New York Times Bestseller brings you on a smart and entertaining journey to appreciating what you have. Search around and find one that works for you – you won’t regret it! And in no time, it will become easy.

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Greater Good

Thankful For …

Thanksgiving is coming up quickly and I can almost taste the feast! Turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie … Can’t forget the parades and football, too! The celebration is delightful, however, it’s important to take a step back and remember what this holiday is truly about – giving thanks!

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Why give thanks? Where did this holiday begin? You probably remember the story you were taught in grade school:

The Pilgrims sailed, on the Mayflower, from England, to escape religious persecution. They landed on Plymouth rock, over two months later, where they hardly survived their first year (half of them dying from the harsh winter and disease). Then, Squanto and the Wampanoag people taught them how to hunt, fish, plant crops, and survive in the area – allowing the Pilgrims to succeed with a bountiful harvest. They celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621 to give thanks for their harvest.

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Although this version of the story is most commonly taught in schools, there are controversies about where the first Thanksgiving actually originated. “In 1565, Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the Timucua tribe to dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation to designate the date as ‘a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God’.” Some Native Americans believe that the story taught in schools portraits a false, friendly relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. There has been a long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers, resulting in millions of deaths. Thanksgiving, rather than a celebration, thus has become a commemoration and a “National Day of Mourning” for many people … And the list of stories continues.

Whatever you may believe, one thing is certain: being thankful is good for the soul. Maybe you are thankful for Squanto helping the Pilgrims, for the safety of your crew, for your God, or for those people who fought for your survival through the hardships endured by the Native American people … Maybe you’re thankful for loved ones, shelter, warm food, or laughter … Maybe you’re thankful for people who are willing to help, smile, share, or give … Take a moment during this holiday to think about what you’re thankful for and appreciate it.

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At Three Square Market, we are thankful for our leaders, who established an impressive company that we are lucky to work for … for our employees, who dedicate their creativity and time to sustaining and improving a remarkable business … and, most importantly, to our customers, who inspire us to continuously grow and who make this all possible. Thank you.

 

To read more about the origin of Thanksgiving, check out our sources:
  1. History
  2. Huffington Post