Thanksgiving in 21st Century

Most people know that Thanksgiving is celebrated in North America on the 4th Thursday in November (i.e. last Thursday 22nd), and also in Canada in early October. Like our own Harvest Festival in September, this traditional holiday is an opportunity to give thanks for all the things that you have at the conclusion of the harvest season, both tangible and intangible.

In this New York Times article last week, journalist Henry Fountain considers Thanksgiving 21st Century style – via the practice of keeping a Gratitude Diary. We’ve talked about gratitude several times before; there’s increasing empirical evidence to show that being grateful in a mindful way, for example through a diary or a letter, increases your well-being.

What I like about Fountain’s article is the acknowledgement that giving thanks is simple but not easy, it requires some effort and self-discipline.

I think this is a very important message to get across to the Victor Meldrew‘s of this world*; happiness isn’t something that just happens, despite what you often see in films and magazines, you actively need to do something. That something varies from person to person, although Positive Psychology is giving us a lot to go on.
So if you haven’t tried it, I challenge you to keep a gratitude diary for three weeks, and see what a difference it makes.

PS You might like to know that there is a Victor Meldrew Appreciation Club on the business networking site Ecademyand yes, it is British….

Thanks to Viv Thackray for the link

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