The Attitude of Gratitude

by Dr. Erin Swenson-Reinhold, LCSW, DMin

The Attitude of Gratitude

November is often considered the month of Gratitude. It’s a natural time to reflect on those things for which we are thankful as we gather with friends and family. If you are like my household, we seem to rush through November thankful for a few days off before we are launched into the busyness of December.

November is a waystation for Advent, Christmas, and the New Year. At times it feels like we race through the act of being thankful to ready ourselves for the next event. We spend five minutes expressing thanks before we eat a delicious meal, and then, like the food, the attitude of gratitude is forgotten as quickly as the food hits our stomach.

Gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you.”  Gratitude shifts us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives. Practicing daily gratitude grants us a deeper connection to ourselves, our neighbors, and God.

Despite the reasons to be grateful and thankful, sometimes life makes it very difficult. This year our communities and people around the world have experienced deep loss and tragedies. We witnessed natural disasters – hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes – we lost dear ones – and many people feel like we are living in uncertain times.

However, gratitude grounds us to our connection with God and others and continues to lead us forward in this life. Through these connections, we develop hope which allows us to choose life and possibility even in the darkest times. I am grateful for the month of November. It is a reminder of the spirit of hopefulness and thankfulness that transforms lives, and for this, I am truly thankful.

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