How to put more happy in your Thanksgiving—with gratitude.

How to put more happy in your Thanksgiving—with gratitude. November 22, 2015
Margan Zajdowicz/
Margan Zajdowicz/

What makes Thanksgiving so special to us? When you think about it, it’s a very simple idea: family and friends gathering together over a big meal. But beneath that simplicity lies a powerful notion: the concept of giving thanks.

In The Worldwide Laws of Life, John Templeton talks about the power of gratitude and how it can act like a magnet. In his words “the more we are grateful for what we have, the more will be given to us.” Templeton believed that as we give love and show appreciation to others, the good we put out into the world flows right back to us—and can help attract “joy, opportunity, health, friends” and much more.

Take a full stop here and ask yourself: “What am I thankful for? Then, consider starting a new tradition this Thanksgiving: saying a prayer of gratitude. It’s a straightforward prayer to God, or whatever higher power you believe in, and it goes something like this:

“I give thanks (to God) for all the good in my life.

I am thankful for….”

On Thanksgiving, you can complete this thought by giving thanks for the meal in front of you, and the friends and family around you. You might also want to give thanks for any recent good fortune. The next step is to send this prayer around the table. Ask each person to chime in with what they’re thankful for. You’ll find this simple group prayer has a way of uplifting everyone’s spirits.

Even after Thanksgiving, the benefits of giving daily thanks and praise are immense. When you start each morning with a prayer of gratitude, you’ll see the benefits almost immediately. Not only will you feel better about yourself and the world around you, you’ll find that (quoting Templeton), “living a life of appreciation and gratefulness leads to having more to be thankful for”.

Someone else who recently looked at the power of gratitude is the renowned author and marketer Seth Godin. He just published a free Thanksgiving Reader to help put the power of gratitude to work in your home. Godin believes that the holiday bring us together to “not only celebrate the end of the harvest, but to look one another in the eye and share something magical”.

Toward that end, Godin has put together a series of passages on gratitude and suggests that we read them aloud before our Thanksgiving meal to “connect with each other over the essence of what we celebrate”. Here is an excerpt, with each line meant to be read by an alternating speaker:

Thank you for teaching me how to love.

Thank you for teaching me not to be afraid—or to be afraid and to live anyway.

Thank you for showing me what is possible.

Thank you for teaching me to care.

Thank you for helping me be confident enough that I didn’t need your help (now, I only want your help.)

Thank you for showing me that I’m worth it.

Not feeling especially thankful this year? See my Thanksgiving post from last year with some keen insights on gratitude from the woman known as Dear Abby.

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