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3 Everyday actions to grow thankfulness

Gratitude is one of those parts of our world that is free to everyone, prized by those recognized to carry it, and yet exceptionally easy to skip over in the daily rush of life.

 

The data has come back pointing to gratitude as a key to reduce burnout, materialism, and increase general happiness.

We, as a culture, are good at critical analysis. This actually functions like a human’s superpower.  This type of critical analysis also prizes efficiency. That is where gratitude often gets squeezed out. There is not much in expressing gratitude that is efficient, but it is good. While it may not be completely efficient, thankfulness can change a life.

Here are three actions that help grow gratitude; in those who use them, and in those who are acted upon. 

1.    Handwritten notes:

While there are not many points of efficiency to writing something by hand to be read and discarded, the stickiness of this type of communication is beyond compare. There is a personal touch that comes along with a handwritten note.

If you are like most of us, you are not a huge fan of your handwriting. This doesn’t matter, outside of being readable. Handwritten notes are so rare in our culture that the personal act of reaching out in that format will fundamentally separate you from your competition. It will also make the person’s day who is being thanked.

2.    Daily reminders:

If you write a note on a post-it and stick it to your mirror, or if you keep a thankfulness journal or merely take a weekly walk and designate the time to remember what you have to be thankful for… these consistent reminders can keep the busy-ness of daily life from distracting us from the myriad of reasons we have to say, “thank you.”

There is not a person living in the USA who doesn’t have a leg up on the majority of humans living in our world today. Comparisons confuse us, and a daily or weekly reminder can keep our eyes on the ball.

3.    Small kind actions:

We typically consider this type of action requires money, through “pay it forward” stories, and the like. Genuine small actions of kindness rarely require money. There are a couple pieces that go into turning small kind actions into a habit.

With these two boundaries, you may be surprised at the opportunities daily life will open opportunities to act kindly toward someone. Give it a try; you might like it?!?

  1. Pay attention to others
  2. Take your time
Categories
Insurance Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Games (and cool history)

Thanksgiving Games that will make this wild and crazy holiday a little wackier!

Did you know that the author of the first song recorded by phonograph fought (lobbied) for 36 years before Lincoln declared the November national holiday named “Thanksgiving”?

Move over gravy, it’s time to spice up this Thanksgiving holiday with some fun games and facts sure to make this year the best holiday in memory (or at least different than the last few in memory). In case you’re in a hurry, we’re including a link to this blog in Word and image format, because not every Thanksgiving dinner table has WiFi or cell service. Even though the 1600s witnessed the Pilgrims celebrating Thanksgiving after a drought, their thanksgivings were days of religious fasting (rather than feasting). The 1700s watched George Washington issue the USA’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. John Adams, and James Madison (Washington’s successors) also dedicated thanks days.

How Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday:

  • In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale started her quest for an official Thanksgiving holiday. It wasn’t until three years later that she would write the nursery rhyme (based on a true story), “Mary had a little Lamb”. Being a woman with no right to vote did not stop this powerhouse of tenacity from making her voice heard. Lacking email, social media, and telephones – it was paper and pen. Letters written to politicians of all types from the governor’s mansion to senator offices, and all the way up the street to the President of the United States.
  • In 1863, Lincoln scheduled the last Thursday of November a national holiday. Yes, you’re right. It’s currently the fourth Thursday, but that is because in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week. The Great Depression was at the end, and an extra week of Christmas shopping could only help to build the economy. As with most political changes, it was given a nickname – “Franksgiving”. By 1941, the president signed a bill compromising for the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. Now you know how we got here – let’s get to the games.

Thanksgiving games to start before eating:

  1. Gratitude Jar” upon arrival, set out a jar or bowl (or container of some type) with a pen and paper next to it. Through the day, anyone can write their note and leave it for later. At the end of the dinner, have each one read. Enjoy being thankful together.
  2. Schedule to Volunteer together. The timing of this one is rather important. If you wait until during or after the feasting, all that nervous energy (which will inspire people to sign up to volunteer together before the dinner) will probably be gone once our tummies are full. If you all agree on a scheduled volunteer together event – promise each other you won’t cancel it when you’re all sleepy after dinner. Look for opportunities to give.

Thanksgiving Games to play at the table:

  1. I’m thankful for this small thing” Certain days are easier than others to recognize the small stuff and tell yourself that you’re thankful for it. As the food’s being passed, take turns completing the statement, “I’m thankful for this small thing….”
  2. Count-up your blessings. The first person to start points out one (1) thing that they are thankful for. The person next to them points out two (2) points of gratitude, and 3 and 4 and so on. The fewer rules on how to come up with the next number – the better. What am I grateful for right now? People and things and events and experiences are good to remember together.
  3. Diamond Award – We are often most grateful for those things which came through a struggle. Look back at past struggles and trials which have turned into diamonds through pressure. Mention challenges which have helped you.

Thanksgiving Games to play just before turkey coma:

  1. Silent appreciation” We all know the time between turkey and sleeping to football. When you’re still awake, find someone on social media or email or text, and tell them that you are thankful for them. It’s not hokey, because it’s Thanksgiving – that’s what we’re supposed to do.

Thanksgiving Games to play while you’re eating cold turkey that night:

  1. Thank your network” There are people we all work with each day and there is often not a reason to thank them, because they’re just doing their job. Even business is based on relationships, and an unsolicited kind word on one day can stop a confrontation in the future. Tell them that you appreciate them.

Whether you play any of our games, or not – we want to thank our clients for allowing us the chance to serve you. Of course, we would not be in business without our clients, but it is knowing we are helping care for you for which we are grateful.

Yes, “Mary had a little Lamb” was the first words recorded by phonograph. Although that “phonograph” was a tinfoil sheet wrapped on a cylinder that Thomas Edison figured out while working on improvements to the telephone and telegraph – when you can’t think of anything to say, it’s usually a nursery rhyme that comes to mind. Since nursery rhyme’s intent are often missed by the first few verses we all remember, here’s the entire “Mary had a little Lamb” verse to kickstart thinking of the people we can say thanks to.

Mary had a little Lamb

(it’s more fun if you sing it)

Mary had a little lamb,
whose fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went,
the lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day
which was against the rules.
It made the children laugh and play,
to see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out,
but still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
till Mary did appear.
“Why does the lamb love Mary so?”
the eager children cry.
“Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know.”
the teacher did reply

Happy Thanksgiving from Insurance Town & Country.

Thank you!