Thanksgiving…a time to pause in thankful reflection. Research supports its profound powerful effect on your mental health. Here are some ways to start grateful discussions around your table.
What are You Thankful for?
We pack our days full relying on caffeine to fuel our flurry of activity and falling into bed at the end of the day, grateful we survived. Some days that is all the gratefulness we can muster.
As I write this I’m preparing for a Thanksgiving meal with my family. The turkey and a ham are waiting in the freezer. I can’t wait to work on what I hope is a decadent pecan cheesecake. These items will bookend the meal with the my guests filling in the gaps. I’m glad they are coming. I’m thankful for the moments of laughter and love that spill out around my table. .
Traditionally, we do a Thanksgiving Turkey Toss…which sounds way more messy than it actually is! We have a little Gund Turkey that, following the meal when we are all fed and happy, we take turns tossing to the people around the table and listing what we are thankful for. This year, I want to switch up the questions and came up with this list. Feel free to use one or use all. Do you have more to add to the list? I’d love to hear your additions. I hope this sparks thoughts of ways your family and friends can have significant conversations over great food.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful you’re here.
5 Gratefulness Conversation Starters
- What has gone well in this past year and why has it gone well? Celebrate the successes of the people around your table. Be on each other’s team cheering them on.
- Who do you know that in some way makes life better for others? Pay attention to the good in the world. It’s easy to see when someone cuts us off, or causes us problems at work; take a moment to be grateful for those that make life easier.
- What is something that you wanted last year that you now have? Seeds are planted long before the crop is harvested. The things in your world are often the result of met desires. You worked and you got it. You tried and it panned out. You put in the effort and you have reaped the harvest.
- How many things can you list that make life better that you are grateful for? We often focus on getting something in the future that we hope will make life better. Sometimes the simplest things like dishwashers (either human or automatic) or garbage pickup make our lives easier in ways we forget.
- When has someone expressed gratitude to you lately? Get a look at how the people around your table are making their corner of the world a better place.
The Results are in…
Do you need scientific proof that this would be a good idea? Here it is:
Research on gratitude shows us:
- Those who are grateful are happier and enjoy life more.
- Those who note weekly things they are grateful for increase their happiness levels 25% over those who note their complaints.
- 94% of those who were severely depressed noted a marked improvement by writing down 3 things they were thankful for in only 15 days.
(Seligman, M.E.P. Authentic Happiness. 2002)
Happy Thanksgiving to you, may you have greater appreciation for the many reasons you have to be thankful.
Trish White is a counsellor in Saskatoon grateful to be able to witness the resilience of people as they forge new chapters.
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