A Very Brief History of Thanksgiving in Canada
European settlers brought over their version of thanksgiving by celebrating the harvest, and over many years, long ago, people moving from the US to Canada brought their version of the day.
All of these traditions have brought us our modern day of thanks every year on the second Monday of October, and I am so grateful.
How can we take the thoughtful, loving idea behind Thanksgiving and make it a daily act? What is it about the day that makes it special and feel so good?
On Thanksgiving, we usually say a prayer for all that we are grateful for, and these tend to be big things: a new baby, a marriage, our health, the delicious food on the table. The great thing about daily gratitude is that it makes you look at all the small things too: a smile from a stranger, a goofy squirrel running up a tree, your favourite book, TV show, or movie, etc.
One popular study was conducted by Michael McCollough and Robert Emmons (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). The participants were divided into three groups.
When looking at the information after the 10 week trial, they found that the grateful group felt 25% happier than those in either of the two other groups. They found that the participants in this group did more exercise per week than the other two, were more optimistic about the future, felt less depression and stress, were more energetic, and were more likely to help others.
They also found that those who practice gratitude daily have stronger immune systems, deal with adversity better, are more creative, and make greater progress towards personal goals. Those are some amazing findings.
Robert Emmons wrote a book about all of the studies he has done on gratitude and their results. Check out ‘Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.’
Gratitude is finding the things in your life that make you happy and make it worth living. It is not saying that life should always be perfect and great, but rather we realize that every day we do have blessings.
Ways to Practice Gratitude Daily
Some people say that writing this down makes them feel the gratitude stronger than if they were to just say it aloud. I like to say it out loud and visualize the event or moment because this allows me to feel it the strongest. Find the way that works the best for you because you will be more likely to continue on after the initial honeymoon phase of this new habit.
This can be started for the new year, a birthday, an anniversary, tomorrow! Just remember to check it in a year.
There are so many more ways to give thanks, so if none of these work for you, just search for ways to practice gratitude, and you will be amazed how many come up! There is something out there for you.
If you do not already have a gratitude practice, I challenge you to start today. The great thing is that you do not need anything. All you need is to change your perspective a little. Give one of the above suggestions a try for two weeks and see where you notice the difference.
After the two weeks, come back to this post and leave me a comment. I would love to hear how it has affected your life, or you can leave me a comment letting me know what you are grateful for right now. At this moment, I am so grateful that you are here reading these words. Thank you!