Gratitude and Awe – why do we deprive ourselves of them?
Fortunately, along comes Thanksgiving, the holiday that prompts us to “give thanks.” Sure, the day is already full with cooking, eating, football, and all sorts of family traditions. But let’s leave a bit of time for the act of recognizing and allowing our feelings of gratitude and awe.
Both emotions can help us interrupt our busyness and become present, rather than remaining trapped in our usual cycle of fretting about some imagined future or feeling bad about something in the past. They call us to recognize what is joyful and fulfilling in our lives and allow us to appreciate that we are part of something grander and more meaningful than our anxieties and fears.
Psychology Today tells us that gratitude increases our energy, optimism, and empathy. Experiencing gratitude raises our levels of serotonin and dopamine so we feel happier and more motivated. Looking at what is going well in our lives gives us confidence and ideas to meet our current challenges. In fact, we change the entire experience of our lives when we shift our attention from focusing on our problems to appreciating the positive aspects of our lives. Awe helps us recognize that we’re part of something bigger and we become more collaborative, as our thinking shifts from “me to we.” As we stop and take in something we didn’t see before, we begin to see other things anew as well. Awe even makes us happier and kinder.
What are you grateful for in this moment?
As you stop and look around, what stands out for its beauty or mystery?
We can make tomorrow a true day of giving thanks by stopping – hourly, or even once, when we’re seated around the table or wherever we find ourselves – and asking what we feel grateful for and what inspires us at that moment. The gratitude and awe we experience will fill our soul and bring joy into our lives in ways that the most delicious turkey, stuffing, or pumpkin pie can never do.