Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays—filled with family, friends and, of course, good food. It is wonderful that we have one day during the year dedicated to gratitude, but it does not suffice to be thankful just one day out of 365.
At my family’s Thanksgiving gathering we usually go around the table and share one thing we are grateful for. When thinking about an entire year’s worth of blessings, I tend to give thanks for the big things—health, food to eat, a roof over my head, loved ones and another year of school. While it is true that these things deserve much appreciation, it is often the little moments in each day that mean the most: getting a compliment, a friend keeping you company at lunch, teammates cheering you on, etc. These are the elements that make ordinary days special. Taking the time to recognize the blessings within each day can help ground us in the present.
At a conference I attended last year, Jean Clervil, a powerful writer and speaker, stressed the importance of expressing appreciation. He led an exercise where everyone in the crowd sent a text to a family member or friend saying “I appreciate you.” That was it, no context or explanation, just “I appreciate you.” He then surveyed the audience to hear some of the responses; it was amazing to listen to some people’s confusion at getting such a message. Some even frantically texted back asking if the sender was okay, wondering if they had been in an accident. Another common response was “Aw, I appreciate you too! This text made my day.”
Listening to these replies, I realized how showing gratitude for the important people in our lives can be a rarity. We often take for granted that our important people know how special they are to us, and we forget to actually express that to them. A random message letting someone know their value to you shows genuine appreciation and often means more than a staged “thank you.”
With this in mind, expressing gratitude on a daily basis carries the sentiment of Thanksgiving through the entire year, as opposed to just a single day.
Hannah Adamson is a senior in high school. She practices meditation and takes ThetaHealing courses with Reshma Shah in Westfield, New Jersey. November 2018