Alexa's Lessons from the Thanksgiving Table

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow”- Melody Beattie This week we have been focusing on life lessons gathered from the Thanksgiving Table.  I enjoyed reading about Teri’s lumpy mashed potatoes and Tamara’s playful family traditions.  My own Thanksgiving traditions have changed over the years due to additions of some family members, and the passing of other family members.  However, I am a sucker for traditions.   The best part of Thanksgiving, aside from Mama Dorothy’s famous and highly sought after Chocolate Ice Box Pie, is that we get to spend time with family.  I am grateful for the family that comes to me from all over the country (and sometimes the world) for this most delicious of holidays.

In my family, it is a tradition to gather before the feast and say for what we are most thankful.  As a younger lass, I did not appreciate this tradition at all.  I hated being put on the spot, and really did not want to wait for 25-30 people to talk before I could get to the mashed potatoes before my brother gobbled them all up.  However, as I have grown up I really do like this part of the day.  I like it so much that I have incorporated doing it for myself every day.  Thanksgiving is not just a holiday, it is a verb.  It is an action that does not soley belong on a lone day in November.  It is an action, that when taken, can magnify all the good in your life and minimize the bad.

Practicing Thankfulness, even in these difficult times, may feel nearly impossible.  During difficult times, we struggle with thoughts of worry, doubt, loneliness, fear, shame and depression.  These thoughts do not lead to healthy outcomes, but tend to make matters worse.  When we are aware of our inner critic, and notice these thoughts, purposeful thoughts of gratitude is the most powerful way drive negativity away!  Thankfulness is a powerful antidepressant.

Mary Lore states in her book,  Managing Thought:  How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World, that when you practice Thankfulness, a physical and mental transformation occurs.  Your brain begins perceiving even more for which to be thankful.  When you focus on the positive, or your strengths, your creative juices start to flow and you get creative ideas on how to turn things in your negative situation around.

For me, Thankfulness is like Mindfulness.  A very deep sense of connection with the world and myself occurs when I am disciplined enough to practice.  But is does take practice.  A lot of practice!

This Thanksgiving, make your gratitude last as long as the turkey leftovers.  It’s a good place to start!  If you notice that it makes you feel good, keep it up!  Notice something to be grateful for every day.

Please join us tomorrow and Friday to see how Natalie and Joleen practice lessons learned from Thanksgiving.

Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT

Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT  is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapyfamily counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield