One day a year, we gather together, eat a wonderful meal, and give thanks for all of our blessings. I love this holiday.
Only this year, it’s going to look very different. No friends or family traveling to get together. The only gathering will be on Zoom. Which is lovely, but no substitute for the hugs and shared warmth of the real thing.
This year it might be a little harder to be thankful, but it’s more important than ever to do it. No matter what’s happening, even if your life is falling apart, there are things you can be grateful for, however small.
Some history you might not know
In 1621, the colonists in Plymouth and Wampanoag Indians (my ancestors) shared a three day feast to celebrate the end of the harvest and give thanks for surviving their first year in New England.
The existing records show that most of the people at the feast were men, plus a few teenagers and children. 78% of the women who arrived on the Mayflower died from an epidemic disease that swept through the colony.
Hmmm. Sounds like this isn’t the first rough year when people have had to dig a little deeper for gratitude.
Both the colonists and the Wampanoag came from cultures of thanksgiving and gratitude. Tom Begley, the executive liaison for administration, research and special projects at Plimoth Plantation, says.
“Giving thanks is really an important part of both cultures. For the English, before and after every meal there was a prayer of thanksgiving. For something on this scale, celebrating a successful harvest, there definitely would have been moments of giving thanks to their God.” *
The Wampanoag culture traditionally gave thanks as a daily, ongoing practice. Every time someone would go fishing or hunting or harvest a plant, they would offer a prayer of thanks, says Linda Coombs at Plimouth Plantation. *
I love the idea of a culture of gratitude. We’re only now re-learning what many ancient cultures knew so well. Gratitude is good for you and everyone around you.
After 15 years of research, it’s pretty clear that gratitude has a ton of benefits:
-it makes you a happier person and can counteract depression and negative thinking
-it helps you sleep better
-it can boost your immune system
-fewer aches and pains
-improves self-care (which also improves your skin)
-it may keep you from overeating
Studies have found that grateful people experience a number of health benefits-all associated with a more radiant complexion. A happy, healthy person is a beautiful person that shines from the inside out and the outside in.
A happier, less stressed person has better skin. This is because hormones like cortisol, inflammation, and negative emotions (all BAD for your skin) are reduced with gratitude.
If you need a little help feeling thankful, it’s understandable. Also not a problem that can’t be solved with a little effort.
It’s very simple to start practicing gratitude
One of the methods that’s been proven to boost your mood and happiness level is called three good things. Every night before you go to bed, write down three good things that happened to you or that you’re grateful for that day. Do the practice daily and after just a few weeks, you’ll notice that you’re happier, more relaxed, sleeping better, and probably feeling better.
It really works.
Taking moments out each day to appreciate and give thanks for your many blessings is an old practice that’s probably even more important now. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by negative news and feelings.
The antidote is gratitude
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to begin.
Then let’s just keep going and find gratitude every day. Even when it seems hard to be grateful. Even when your life feels like it’s falling apart.
I am grateful for you, for you reading this blog and for supporting SunWindSnow. Between now and midnight on Tuesday December 1, SunWindSnow is offering 15% off any orders and a free SPF15 All Weather Defense lip balm for every $50 spent on our website. The lip balms are super moisturizing, go on clear, protect your lips from the elements including the sun, and have a nice tangerine flavor. Just use the code: