This week, at many tables across the country, families will be sharing a meal and their thoughts on what they are thankful for. With everything that is shaking our world right now, it's important to stay mindful of the message of the holiday.
If you have attended any of my programs on emotional intelligence, stress management or protecting your energy level, you know that gratitude always makes the list of helpful tips. Instead of rushing past Thanksgiving in order to get to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or the New Year, why not use this moment to pause and ground yourself in the true meaning behind this important holiday?
The practice of being grateful has become a foundational principle of positive psychology coaching and is based on the fact that you cannot hold two emotions at the same time. Thinking about things to be grateful for can help you feel better and keep the negative, anxious thoughts at bay. In addition, you train the reticular activating system (RAS) in your brain to start noticing more things to be thankful for and this ultimately brings more happiness your way. Choosing gratitude literally is a way to choose happiness. Hence, the phrase “happiness is a choice,” which can be seen on the wall of my office and is referenced in our name, “Choice Training and Coaching Solutions”.
As we get closer to Thanksgiving Day, why not consider choosing one of these practices to stay connected to the true meaning of the holiday?
· Start or end each day listing 5-10 things you are thankful for
· Tell someone how much you appreciate them
· Give gratitude meditation a try
· List as many things as you can that you are thankful for when at a red light
· Be thankful for the opportunity to learn something new
· Thank a co-worker
· Send a hand-written thank you note to someone who has really impacted your life
· Call a loved one and say thank you
· Give thanks for your health
If you have suffered loss this year, be it a loved one, a job, or something else, this exercise might not work for you right now and that’s okay. I want you to know you have my deepest condolences and heartfelt wish that someday soon you will be able to find gratitude for the memories that remain.
As I am preparing to host my family’s Thanksgiving celebration, I am feeling some trepidation as this will be our first without my beloved Mother-In-Law, Maryse. My husband Scott and I are deciding on how we will choose to honor her memory this year. In addition, we are anticipating feeling sadness and loss and are working hard not to push down those feelings, but rather make space for them so we can find healing, acceptance, and gratitude on the other side.
It’s also important to remember to be thankful for our work families. Whether that’s your employees, co-workers, manager, vendors, or clients, chances are you spend as much time communicating with them as you do your relatives. Why not take the time to share a kind word or note of appreciation? Let this time of year be a reminder of how far a kind word or gesture can go. What better time than now to set some goals for showing your gratitude (and increasing your positive-to-negative ration (PNR) for your work family throughout this holiday season? Your team probably needs it now more than ever.
As I close this post, I would like to say “thank you” to you. Whether you are a coaching client, an attendee of one of my presentations, a colleague, a former co-worker, someone I met through networking, or you’ve read, liked or shared one of my social media posts or emails, I truly appreciate it. I know there are millions of places you can invest your energy and attention, and I’m glad you chose to invest it with Choice.
Wishing you and your families (relatives and work) a very Happy Thanksgiving and lots to be grateful for!!
Janine Friedman, Owner and founder of Choice Training and Coaching Solutions, Inc. is an executive and leadership coach and holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation from the International Coaching Federation. She empowers executives to improve their performance, address their challenges, and achieve their goals through customized coaching and training.
Success is a Choice.