Grateful: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. today, we commemorate a day when people from different races and cultures came together in friendship and support.

Of course, that was nearly 400 years ago.

Quite a lot has changed since then. We’ve moved forward: and here I’m thinking about Turducken, a delicacy I have still not had the opportunity to sample. And we’ve taken some giant steps backwards. Instead of sharing turkey and maize (or even the ubiquitous green bean casserole), authorities in North Dakota kicked off Thanksgiving week for their Native American neighbors with water cannons and tear gas. So yes, times have changed.

Still, even in the darkest times I look for reasons to be grateful. And one of the things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving is something that might help you find gratitude in your own life.

The Five-Minute Journal

About six months ago, I bought myself this simple little book: The Five-Minute Journal. It's Thanksgiving every day with this book

Every morning when I wake up, it prompts me to find three things I’m grateful for, articulate three actions I could take to “make today great,” and write a short affirmation for myself. Every evening before I go to sleep, I fill in the blanks for three “amazing things that happened” during the day. And reflect on one thing I could have done to make the day even better. It’s pretty simple. And surprisingly powerful.

Writing in the journal gives me permission celebrate my wins and the assorted joys of life. I find I’m happier overall, less inclined to focus on the negative.

Of course I also have some dark days, days when the “amazing things” list looks like:

  • I walked the dog.
  • I drank some tea.
  • I kept breathing.

It would be hard to find smaller accomplishments than those. But—hey—I got through the day. And tomorrow I’ll turn the page and hope for something better.

I hope for something better for all of us this Thanksgiving. Whether or not you buy the book, putting your gratitude into words is an excellent practice. Just one small way writing can heal.


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