Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

As the leaves turn to bright colors and drop from the trees, we anticipate a change in seasons and the coming of winter holidays. November in the U.S., October in Canada, brings Thanksgiving and a time to reflect on the past year as we share the day with our family and friends.

Thanksgiving was designed as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. In the U.S., we attribute the observation to the Pilgrims who emigrated from England to the land of opportunity. Some of these settlers moved north into Canada and the traditions were observed in their new environment.

For many, the holiday is a day off from work; although in the trucking industry, that’s not as common. We combine family, friends, and food and, perhaps a parade or football game on television. The focus is on the important things we all share and how our lives are better because of these people and things.

Regardless of our financial or physical situation, we all have something to be thankful for this year. Robert Quillen, an American journalist, once said, “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.”

If you’re still not ready to spend the day focusing on things you should be thankful for, consider your health. People who count their blessings are healthier and happier than those who don’t. A 2003 survey in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests keeping a list of things you are thankful for will give you a better outlook on life and a more positive attitude.

For students, grateful high-schoolers have better grades and more positive social interaction according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Happiness studies. They are also less depressed than their peers. So encourage your children to be thankful each day, but especially on Thanksgiving.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try making a list of things you are thankful for and you’ll not only fall asleep faster, you’ll stay asleep longer according the an article in the journal of Applied Psychology called Health and Well-Being.

Grateful people make better friends and often have better relationships with their spouse or partner and help promote team happiness when they are involved in team sports (Huffington Post, November, 2012).

Most importantly, being thankful can reduce hypertension and the chance of sudden death for those with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure (according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, 1995). Your immune system also benefits from a positive attitude according to a University of Utah study on law students and pessimism.

Eating turkey and reclining in front of the television might not be the most healthy way to spend a holiday, but if you integrate thankfulness and gratitude you can offset some of the negative effects of the food and lack of activity.

A wikiHow article offers six steps to being more thankful.

1) Relax (reduce anger and frustration to allow positive thoughts)

2) Live in the moment (stop dwelling on the past)

3) Focus on using your senses:  smell, savor, touch, and listen

4) Cherish lightheartedness, like laughter, affection and playfulness

5) Take a vacation (even if it’s a day away from work)

6) Keep a gratitude journal. It’ll remind you of things you have been grateful for in the past.

Giving thanks takes practice, but over time it becomes less challenging and will help make your overall attitude more positive. Thanksgiving is intended as a day to give as a reason to reflect on all the things we should be thankful for.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from all of us at Women In Trucking Association.

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