Happy November! Is November a happy month? In the US, it’s the month of Thanksgiving. It’s a very good thing when countries set aside a national holiday for giving thanks, but can that truly make people happy?
Giving thanks means being grateful. The mindset of being grateful is known as gratitude, and it involves opening our perspective to notice things withing ourselves, in others, and in our lives for which we are glad. Taking moments every day to pause, notice the good, and be grateful for who and what is good, we begin to flourish.
Robert Emmons, a leading researcher and expert on gratitude, has discovered numerous benefits of gratitude and why gratitude is good. Gratitude is an important part of both mental and physical wellbeing, positively influencing how we interact with ourselves and others. Simply put, gratitude lessens the effects of the bad on our minds and bodies and strengthens the effects of the good.
So, again, does that make November, the month of Thanksgiving, a happy month overall? November, after all, signals the onset of the cold months for many people. Branches become bare. The grass in some areas is brown. The holiday season, which begins this month and runs through the end of the year, is stressful for many people–often depressing, anxiety-provoking, or triggering. Does gratitude really do any good at all?
If gratitude is nothing but words expressed out of obligation, spoken on a dedicated day, it won’t have an impact on our wellbeing. However, when gratitude becomes a state of mind, a way of thinking about ourselves, others, and our world, we reap benefits far beyond any Thanksgiving harvest.
Gratitude doesn’t always come naturally. Humans tend to think negatively, to dwell on what is wrong. Sometimes expressing gratitude can make people feel vulnerable, as if doing so is an admission that we can’t do certain things for ourselves or that the good in our lives is there because of circumstances and people other than ourselves.
It’s okay that feeling and expressing gratitude can be difficult. It is definitely not impossible to shift our thoughts to the positive, to look for ways in which to be grateful. This is a decision that you can take charge of, have control over. Choosing to shift your perspective to one of gratitude can help you feel better mentally and physically.
Because to be fully beneficial, gratitude must become part of our perspective, I offer ideas to help you cultivate that sense of gratitude. Gratitude has more punch when it doesn’t feel like a burden; therefore, I’ve created a bingo game I call I’M GLAD! The Gratitude Game.
I’M GLAD! The Gratitude Game: How it Works
Download the free PDF of the game board (I’M GLAD Bingo). As you seek out and intentionally feel gratitude for the items on the board, mark the space, perhaps with a sticker or a drawing. As you complete rows, treat yourself to something you enjoy. When you have blackout, do something to show gratitude that you’re taking care of yourself. Celebrate! Then create a new board or start over with this one. Gratitude is a never-ending process.
Choosing a grateful outlook can bring a sense of joy and tranquility, of happiness and a love of life. Practicing gratitude can help you create your life worth living and embrace the good even during the bad.
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