From “The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series”, author Melody Beattie.

As we approach celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, this quote from Melody Beattie beautifully reminds us of the transformative power of gratitude at the holidays – and every day.

Beattie knows about the transformative power of gratitude having survived a traumatic childhood, addiction and the loss of a child but emerging from this to live a a full and rewarding life. After having an epiphany in rehab that got her to focus her energies on “the right things,” she became a renowned self-help author (she literally wrote the book on codependency, followed by many other bestsellers) and remains a celebrated writer and an inspiring beacon for many struggling with addiction and grief. The daily meditations on her website (or apps) are a good way to start or end your day!

Let’s break down what she said in this quote because while it’s the perfect quote as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it’s also a powerful reminder for us to look at every day through the lens of gratitude.

Gratitude:

“Unlocks the fullness of life…”
Who doesn’t want to live their life fully, experiencing the maximum of satisfaction and joy at both home and at work. Gratitude opens our eyes to the beauty and goodness of the world around us. It energizes us and brings hope. Sharing gratitude brings out the best in those around us too.

“Turns what we have into enough…”
Gratitude allows us to be thankful for the abundance of good things in life and not be driven by societal or selfish needs. Gratitude helps us realize we are, and we have, enough.

Research finds that “just acting grateful can make you feel grateful” says Arthur C. Brooks in “Choose to be Grateful. It will make you Happier.” He goes on to say:

“If you want a truly happy holiday, choose to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, whether you feel like it or not.”

“…turns denial into acceptance…”
Gratitude let’s us enjoy relatives and friends for who they are – imperfections and all. And, most importantly accepting ourselves for doing the best we can. Gratitude heals.

In a recent Forbes article on gratitude, positive psychologist researcher and author Robert Emmons “cites research showing the effectiveness of gratitude in buffering stress and building resilience. He even recommends a strategy he calls “Remember the bad.” The point is not to dwell on the negative, but to look back and reflect on difficult experiences and how we got through them. In doing so, we learn not to take our current blessings for granted. We are also reminded of the resources that helped us weather past storms.”

“…chaos to to order, confusion to clarity…”
Stopping to take a breath and reframing stress that can come at the holidays (or any day) is an opportunity to clear your mind and re-prioritize what’s important. Being grateful helps put what’s really important in perspective.

“…turns a meal into a feast, a house into a home and a stranger to a friend.”

No matter the scale of the meal, gratitude for the bounty and those we share it with turns any occasion into a “feast”.

Thanksgiving is a holiday uniquely steeped in a history of gratitude. It’s the one time of year we treat everyone as family. It’s gratitude that allows us to open our hearts and our homes.

This holiday season share your gratitude and share in the joy you spread.

Wherever and however you celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope the meal becomes a feast of gratitude for you and your loved ones.

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