by Julia Scalise, DN, PhD
It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2016 is on the immediate horizon. Another year is flying by quickly. For many it has been a difficult year. Some people have lost loved ones, some have experienced trauma from weather disasters, and some have had the onset or worsening of illness.
It can be difficult to feel gratitude in the midst of any or all of this.
On the other hand, some people have experienced many blessings from the births of new family members, celebrations of weddings, career advancement and financial improvement, or after a long struggle- a clean bill of health.
How has your year been? Are you coasting through an improvement in areas of your life, or are you dealing with difficulties never before experienced? If life is better for you, be grateful. But look around you and see if there is anyone you know that isn’t as thankful or grateful as you may be. What can we do to start spreading gratitude to those that may be struggling?
In this season of giving thanks, is it possible for you to share your time, treasure or talent to help someone have an opportunity to join in the celebrations with new found hope and a reason to be grateful?
Time is precious to us all. Day by day, week by week, the hours pass quickly. So many feel overwhelmed with all that must be done. Is there someone you know, who could benefit by having some of your time?
It may be just to listen, help them with a home chore, agree to run some errands, visit them, or even call to check on their well-being. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, just whatever time you can manage to brighten someone’s day and make them feel cared about. You have the potential to impact another to feel grateful by being a caring person in his or her life. Without a little help, life may seem not worth living for some.
Everyone’s financial situation is different. But if you are able, consider what you can do and whom you can help with your “treasure”. Some organizations have gotten an unfavorable review when it is discovered that many of the donated dollars don’t filter down to those who really need it. Therefore, you may wish to make:
- A specific donation to a local organization (i.e. food donated to a local food bank), or
- A specific donation to a “GoFundMe” for someone you know personally, or
- A contribution to a friend or family member that is having a difficult time financially.
Any amount you can donate, in whatever way you choose to do so, can increase the gratefulness factor for those who may not have been able to feel truly grateful in this moment.
Talent is a relative term. What is easy for you may be unfathomable to someone else. Review your unique gifts and see if there is someone who can directly benefit from what you have to offer. This list is endless, but some ideas are:
- Performing handyman chores,
- Cooking a meal,
- Helping a student with their studies,
- Doing needlework projects to make blankets,
- Assisting someone with financial strategies if they are a novice at budgeting,
- Helping a child or an adult learn to read or read better.
It does not have to be an over-the-top, Cecil B. DeMille production – just a simple act on your part that may have an enormous benefit for someone else. In so doing, this small effort may give the recipient of your generosity more reasons to be grateful, especially if he/she had been feeling helpless or that no one cared.
The world is full of tragedy, chaos, trauma, difficult circumstances, and many living on the fringes of being able to feel grateful. YOU may be the only reason to keep them holding on. If you are blessed to have the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, and clothing, those alone are reasons to have an attitude of gratitude. If you have more, good for you. But try to be aware of many who do not, and if you can be a reason to help someone else have an attitude of gratitude, I hope you will do so.
In this season of giving thanks, I wish you health, reasons to feel grateful, the ability to help others feel grateful also, and living your best life.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL.
“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
~Shannon L. Alder
There is a lot of scientific evidence that the act of giving to others can increase the happiness of the giver as well as reduce stress, build a sense of community with others, increase self- esteem, and a host of other healthy side benefits. And do you know one of the best things about helping others? Kindness seems to spread – when others see you being kind or receive your kindness, it makes them want to pass it on. Really – there is even a study that shows it – https://helix.northwestern.edu/article/kindness-contagious-new-study-finds
There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
That seems like excellent advice! ]