Dr. Becky Lang

November 25, 2019

Thankfulness. Gratitude. Thanksgiving

This is my favorite week of the year.  The week of Thanksgiving. I love the anticipation, the planning of the days leading up to it and I love the actual day.  I love the preparations of food and setting the table.  I love the smells coming from the oven, flowers on the table and the candles glowing. I love gathering people around the table and spending time in conversation. I love taking a run or walk outside on a trail on Thanksgiving morning.  And, I love the darker, cozy evenings. At least for the first month.

But most of all, I love the idea of actually giving thanks and being grateful on the day and the days leading up to it.  No matter the losses or hardships of the past year, there is something powerful about taking a full day and giving thanks for what we do have.

Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’, is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts according to one source.

A large body of research especially in the past twenty years has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of self-reported measure of well-being. They feel better and are healthier.  Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and relationships with others.  Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people, reinterpret and grow from experiences, and spend more time planning how to deal with the problem.

It all makes sense; the challenge is taking the time to cultivate gratitude. Thanksgiving is a day set aside for just that – thankfulness.

Being grateful starts with naming those people, events, situations that we are thankful for.  What is on your list?  Right now, take a deep breath, relax, close your eyes and name 3, 6, 12 things you are thankful for; both professionally and personally. Even better, begin a list.

My list this year:

I am thankful for my family who continue to teach me about unconditional love

My friends who are a constant in my life and always have a listening ear

The ability to do what I love, training clinicians, practitioners, human service consultants and. family advocates who attend my motivational interview and compassionate conversation trainings

A new granddaughter who is healthy and her loving parents who have given her an incredible start in life

A church family and faith which provides a strong foundation for each day

A love of learning that has ignited my desire to obtain my certification in Health and Wellness Coaching and learn more about nutrition

Health care practitioners who helped me heal from a separated shoulder

Fitness instructors who encourage me each and every day at the gym

A cozy and sunny home where I get to explore my hobby of writing and cooking

Getting more whole plant based foods into my daily diet: eating the rainbow each day

Local fitness trails where I get to walk, ride my bike and enjoy the outdoors

Podcasts, books and research articles that inspire and educate me daily

The neighborhood owls that hoot throughout the night and sooth my soul

Identify and name what is on your gratitude list today and each and every day.  May you have an incredible Thanksgiving enjoying the simple and important things in life.  Thanksgiving is the best time of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love.


Dr. Becky Lang

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