Gratitude \Grat-i-tood\ (n): Thankfulness

It’s that time of the year again, when families far and wide gather to give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon them over the past year. Don’t forget to add a generous helping of food, football, and of course, shopping.

You may have already heard that Black Friday has been extended this year to 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day by numerous retail giants. At this rate we will soon dispense altogether with Thanksgiving dinner and simply go shopping instead. And, with the Internet, we won’t have to leave our homes to cash in on the myriad of Black Friday “bargains”.

But, I digress. My objective with this blog is to extol the virtues of gratitude. People who practice gratefulness are happier by as much as 25% over those less inclined to see the glass half full. Gratitude may also help us ward off the siren’s call to go shopping on Black Friday (whatever the starting date). Research shows that people who are grateful for what they have want less – the desire for more is the very cornerstone of materialism.

As parents, we know raising grateful kids is not easy. Having grown up with so much, they tend to see more as the only road to happiness. Teaching them to be grateful is one way to combat the rising tide of materialism. Talk at the dinner table about what each of you have to be grateful for, give thanks through prayer for all that you have, and, on a less spiritual plain, keep a daily gratitude journal.

Simply grab a pad of paper and pencil and write down three things that happened that you were grateful for that day. Research shows that after several weeks people who keep gratitude journals are happier than those that don’t. Maybe there really is something behind this idea of setting aside a day each year to celebrate our blessings.

My next blog will flesh out a more complete definition of gratitude, offer a scale for you to measure how grateful you are, and talk about the role others play when practicing gratitude. Gobble-Gobble.

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