Posted on November 26, 2014.

“ The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”  It’s easier said than done.  But this is a great time of year to think about communicating just how grateful you are. For many people, Thanksgiving can be bittersweet. 

It’s a great time to get together with family and friends, but it’s also the eve of what can be the most stressful time of the year.  Not only is year-end a busy time at work, the stress of shopping for the next holiday can be overwhelming.  Try to practice gratitude not only on Thursday but throughout the holiday and the whole year by:

·      Saying thank you.  Next time you want to get mad at someone who didn’t deliver something exactly on time or the way you wanted it, take a breath and say “thank you” instead. For the sales clerk that made you wait too long, thank him or her for their help.  You’d be surprised at how quickly your negative attitude will turn positive.

·      Giving back.  Whether it’s your time or your money, giving to a cause that’s important to you is a great way to show your gratitude.  Becoming involved helps you think about someone, or something, other than yourself and you quickly realize all you have to be thankful for.

·      Not complaining.  Take a vow to stop criticizing, complaining or gossiping for a period of time: a week, a month, a year.  The longer the better. So much of what we say is habit and by ceasing this type of behavior, even for a short time, you’ll learn to appreciate how much negativity results from those types of conversations.

·      Giving a compliment. Much like vowing to stop complaining, vow to give out at least one compliment a day.  Or say something positive everyday.  It can be something as simple as, “ it’s a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky”. As Mark Twain once said, “I can live two months on a good compliment”.

·      Keeping a gratitude journal.  Maybe at the end of the day, after finalizing your “to do” list, you take a moment to jot down everything you’re grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but it will help counterbalance the feeling of being overwhelmed with what’s on your “to do” list.

For managers and leaders, we have a responsibility to lead by example.  I’m not sure you can set a better example than showing gratitude to others and being positive, even in the face of adversity.  This type of leadership is especially important around the holiday season, as many people feel stress and sadness, not joy and gratitude.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!