With the elections behind us and the holidays ahead, I find myself wondering where this unusual year has gone. Some of the days have passed quickly, while others seem to last far longer than I would like. For the most part, we’ve adapted to accomplish what’s needed, and accepted that even though some of life has been hard in this environment, there have been some good things that have come of it as well. November has been noted as a time for us to review and reflect on the blessings in our lives. Being thankful and sharing gratitude with those around us may change as our situations change - please read on for more details.
Dr. Sam Quick, Emeritus, at the University of Kentucky shares this with us. It’s easy to be thankful when wonderful things happen to us, which is the first level of Thanksgiving. The second level, is learning to express appreciation for the many blessings that we often take for granted--good health, adequate food and clothing, the freedom to speak our minds and help shape the future. The third and most challenging level of Thanksgiving is to maintain a positive, grateful attitude even when confronted with problems. Of course, problems and their associated painful feelings need to be faced, dealt with, and learned from. Yet, even in difficult circumstances, we can be appreciative for what didn’t go wrong and for the opportunity to learn and grow. It seems that 2020 has been a lesson for many of us. But he goes on to say that we can learn to develop gratitude by developing the skill of appreciation, and putting it into practice. Here are a few skill builders designed to nurture and strengthen a positive, appreciative attitude. As you read through, ask your family members what activities could be done together.
1. Take time to tell a close friend some of the things you admire and appreciate most about him or her.
2. Enjoy a walk in a pleasant outdoor area. Focus on the beauty of nature, the sunshine, trees, streams, and other miracles of your natural environment.
3. Zero in on a problem you have struggled with in your life. Identify at least three positive things you have learned as a result of your experiences surrounding this problem.
4. For the next several days, when a little or big problem comes up, promise yourself that you’ll make an extra effort to see the problem as a challenge and to focus on its positive aspects.
5. Allow yourself 10 minutes to write a spontaneous note of appreciation to a loved one, neighbor, friend, or co-worker.
6. In the next 24 hours, make it a point to tell each immediate family member something you appreciate about him or her.
7. If you have children, when you tuck them in at night, share at least one positive thing they did or what you really appreciated about them today.
Because the giving and receiving of appreciation feels so good, its habit forming and contagious. A thankful attitude encourages physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It also promotes balanced optimism, opens our eyes to opportunities, and enhances our general well-being and effectiveness. Let every day be a celebration of Thanksgiving.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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