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“How To” Maximize Thanksgiving

Getting the most from "Giving Thanks"

“Pass the turkey”.

“More potatoes please”.

“Is there any pie left?”

“What time does the football game start?”

“Leftovers on Black Friday!”

These traditions are part of Thanksgiving.

But so is “Giving Thanks”.

Practicing gratitude is better for you than you may think. It lowers stress and has a positive impact on your brain.

But did you know that there are THREE types of gratitude?  

And to maximize Thanksgiving we need to get good at all three types. First up;

Being Grateful

If asked, what does gratitude mean to you, most will reply, “being grateful for the things (and people) I have in my life”.

Reflecting on the things and people you are thankful for is a powerful practice that shouldn’t be limited to a holiday.

Neuroscience has shown that gratitude reflection has a positive impact on our brain. It also fights off stress hormones.  And it helps build resilience for those tougher times to come.

People and things are very important touchpoints for a gratitude practice. Often overlooked, is being grateful for our gifts.  The things we often take for granted. Our strong qualities that are often beaten down by life pressures and the drama created in our heads.

“I’m not good enough. I’m not tall enough. I’m not thin enough”. I’m no good at_______”

These are self-doubts that bring us down and trample our confidence and self-esteem.

But making a personal inventory of our strengths is a powerful way to put our mind in a motivating, growth state.

Some of us have so much self-doubt that making this inventory will be hard. So start writing down things that come to mind. No matter how small and insignificant they might seem.

Ask a friend or loved one what he or she thinks you are good at. And keep that list and keep adding to it. The more we practice gratitude, the more we realize how much more there is to be grateful for.

And you will discover that a  “strengths list” is a powerful way to combat self-doubt when you may be faced with a difficult situation or receive difficult feedback. Second type;

Spreading Gratitude

I still remember as a child learning the “magic words” PLEASE and THANK-YOU.

Yes, “thank-you” is a powerful phrase. And the act of thanking others has a positive impact on your brain too.

But in business and life, the words “thanks” or “thank-you” often do not have the impact they should have.

Ask yourself, when I thank someone, “do they hear it and appreciate it?” If the answer is “no”, or even “I’m not sure”, then increase your effort so the message comes through loud and clear.

Stop. Pause. Look her or him in the eye and deliver a genuine, and generous message of gratitude. Often, being “present” when you deliver the message improves the impact significantly. 

For even more impact, change up the words so they don’t “roll off the tongue, and go in one ear and out the other”.   (When this happens, gratitude doesn’t get a chance to stop in the brain to have a positive impact.) Something like, “I know I say thanks a lot, but I want to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate all you do for this company”.

Or write a short handwritten note. This action can create a very positive feeling for both you and the recipient. And now the Third Kind;

Accepting Thanks

The most overlooked, and for many hardest kind of gratitude.

Many people have a difficult time accepting gratitude. Their brain has created enough self-doubt they brush it off. They might say something like “It was nothing” or “Don’t worry about it”. Underlying these responses for many of us is the belief that we don’t deserve to be thanked.  And we feel guilty.

This is “stinking thinking”.

It continues to reinforce a lower self-image. And it blocks the opportunity for a “hit of brain happiness” for you and the person thanking you. It is like you are rejecting a gift.

If you can practice Being Grateful, and work at being generous with Spreading Gratitude, you will soon come to learn how important it is to also Accept Thanks.

Don’t cheat yourself, and others of the full benefits of Giving Thanks.

The Gratitude “Three-Peat”. What a wonderful way to Maximize Thanksgiving.

I want to THANK YOU for your time to read this article.

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