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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8 Responses to Gratitude \Grat-i-tood\ (n): Thankfulness

  1. Kristen Frederick says:

    I agree. On the note about stores being open longer, that’s just ridiculous. To a point I think that we are starting to lose site of what is important. Growing up my parents always had the money to get us the things we wanted- for me it was a horse, but they chose to make us wait and work for it because they wanted us to learn the value of hard work and feel like we earned what we got. While at the time it irritated me and I didn’t understand, I am beyond thankful for that now. Looking at some kids these days, it seems as if they think they are owed luxurious things.

  2. jim_roberts says:

    You are money wise beyond your years. Keep up the good work and be sure to share this story with others.

  3. Yuting Liang says:

    I am agree. I almost don’t know why US people need to have Thanksgiving day. I think to buy low price products are good but the main ideas of the day are needed to be remember. Exchanging presents are good but we are not celebreated becauses of the presents.

  4. Jordan Zobel says:

    Me and my roommates sat and talked about these exact topics just the other day. Growing up my parents did not have a lot, granted they worked extremely hard and have a lot to be proud of today. I was never handed anything, and am still not to this day. Going to Baylor has definitely made me extremely grateful for all that I have, and so appreciative that my parents still work so hard just so that I can go to such a wonderful university. I wish that our society would not forget the meaning of what we are actually celebrating on Thanksgiving, but unfortunately our materialism and need for “things” is taking over more and more each year. When does the black friday take-over stop? Hopefully sooner than later, because each generation is loosing sight of Thanksgiving as they begin to get older and imitate what society puts out. My brother, just a a senior in high school and only four years younger than me, is in a generation that is being sucked into this society and way of life. He wants to know when my mom is going out and getting that new plasma TV or X-box game he wants for christmas while we are all spending time with family, eating, and watching the Cowboys and Redskins game. I think it is really important that there is a stop to it before all the meaningful things are forgotten.

  5. Tri Pham says:

    I agree that people who are constantly grateful for their circumstances are happier overall. The topic reminded me of one my favorite quotes: “Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting”. I am to a strong believer in giving back and being grateful for what what you get. In my opinion the holidays are a great reminder of that virtue, because in our fast-paced busy lifestyle, we sometimes just forget this.

  6. Callie Jo says:

    I like this post! It reminds us of the true spirit of Thanksgiving. As a Clevenger tradition, we tend to hang out around the house rather than go out to the Black Friday sales. Trying to buy everything before every one else, when just the day before we were spending our time being thankful for every thing we have is just ironic. It really is so surprising that people feel the NEED to go out and splurge. However, I’m sure many people go out to buy Christmas gifts for others during the sales. It’s nice to give gratitude during these holidays. It can also be difficult to consciously give thanks when we are surrounded by persistent marketing.

  7. Connor Yearsley says:

    I think the gratitude journal is a good idea. Unfortunately for me, I think it would be harder than it should be to come up with three things every day. I tend to dwell on things that irritate me too much and, a lot of times, those things tend to eclipse whatever good things happen. As far as Black Friday goes, I saw a meme yesterday that said, “America: the only country in the world where people trample each other getting the best deals exactly one day after they’re thankful for what they already have.” And it’s so true.

  8. Blair Reed says:

    The gratitude journal is practiced in many forms of therapy. It actually alleviates symptoms of depression and instills a sense of well being within the person. I think it’s a great idea for everyone to practice because it is psychologically proven to help your emotional health.

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