This Thanksgiving Day, let’s give thanks

This Thanksgiving Day, let’s give thanks

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day here in the UK, and many of us don’t even know what it is.  From the films and TV shows we watch, it seems like Christmas dinner without the presents or the Christmas tree.  In fact, it originated as a harvest festival.  A way of celebrating and thanking God for enough food to last through the winter, and to the earth for giving up its bounty.

I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to stop, reflect and do something we rarely do.  Give thanks.  Practicing gratitude has become a thing, thanks to yoga and mindfulness.  And it’s a really useful ‘thing’ to do.  We all spend our time either dwelling on the past or worrying and planning the future.  We rarely stop to notice and appreciate what we have right here and now.

Take a moment to really think about the fact you’re going to die…. It snaps you out of the complacency of day-to-day life; of taking for granted the fact you are alive. 

As we were going to sleep last night, my husband said he felt sad that our eldest daughter would soon be 11 years old and we only have about 5 years left (if we’re lucky) of her wanting to hang out with us.  We only have a few years left of her being our little girl, with all her gorgeous innocence.  So this morning, I really took notice of her.  I looked at her differently, setting aside the urge to nag her to hurry up and brush her teeth and put her uniform on.  I stopped and tried to imprint her in my brain, at this age, so I can revisit her in my memory when she’s left home.

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In case I haven’t said it before, I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss.  He’s a big fan of Stoicism and of ‘memento mori’, which means ‘remember you’re going to die’.  I know this sounds a bit bleak in a post about Thanksgiving, but it’s an incredibly positive thing to do.  Take a moment to really think about the fact you’re going to die.  Think about how upset you’d be if you dropped dead tomorrow.  Think of all the things you’d miss and would never be able to do again.  Think of others who’ve had their lives snatched away from them.  It snaps you out of the complacency of day-to-day life; of taking for granted the fact you are alive.

I live in hope, not fear.

During the summer, I tried very hard to do the ‘5 minute journal’ – a little book that you fill in morning and night – where you write down the things you’re grateful for.  I found that I kept writing the same things and eventually lost the habit.  But it’s something I recommend doing, as it does give you a more positive outlook.  Now I try to think about things I’m grateful for during my morning shower.  Instead of thinking of my endless to do list, or having imaginary arguments in my head with someone who has annoyed me and thinking about how I need to lose 5 kilos.  Give it a go, it makes you much happier.

Here’s my (not exhaustive) list of things I give thanks for, what’s yours?

  • I have three healthy children who are beautiful, funny and unique.
  • I have a healthy, kind, decent and loyal husband who loves his family.
  • I live in the best country in the world where we have freedom, we have peace and we have prosperity. If you don’t agree with me on this, check out Syria.
  • I am healthy and I have a body that, although may not look like Elle Macpherson, does what I need it to do to live my life.
  • I have an education and an upbringing that gave me the tools to start a business that I love, and create employment and opportunity for others.
  • I live in hope, not fear.
  • Have you seen The Crown?  Oh, and I give thanks for our Queen.  Love her.

I’d really like you all to share what you give thanks for.  Tag us and use the hashtag #Igivethanksfor.  Let’s create a movement of Thanksgiving and have at least one day when we don’t moan, complain or think about what we don’t have.  Let’s think about what we DO have.  I bet you it’s a whole load more than most of the world’s population.

Melanie Lawson is a mum of 3 and founder of Bare Biology. 

Main image courtesy of Unsplash. Photograph by Markus Spiske
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