Invite Gratitude to the Table This Thanksgiving Day
Invite gratitude, can be a phrase that you repeat in your head throughout Thanksgiving Day. In my private psychotherapy practice, people are expressing fears that conversation will turn into political war at the dinner table.
Be the Designated Gratitude Giver
Most gatherings will host a peacemaker, a troublemaker, a fun lover, a traditionalist, etc. What role do you play? Maybe you’re the one (or can choose to become the one) who elevates the energy of the crowd.
Suggest that on Thanksgiving, they can invite gratitude instead of fueling political debates. It can become a group mantra.
Uncle Lou might say, “How can we be grateful when the health care system is a disaster?” Aunt Shirley might lament the loss of safety and security. You need to redirect everyone’s energy back to the topic of gratitude.
Everyone’s concerns about wellbeing and safety are legitimate, but Thanksgiving is not traditionally a day to discuss one’s worst fears or nightmares. We didn’t used to need prompts to remind us to focus on gratitude on Thanksgiving. Now we do.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for the people in our lives, the food we eat, the roof over our heads, love that exists, trees that offer shade, flowers that are beautiful, etc.
The Salt Shaker
In fact, you can suggest one of two activities that help others stay focused on what they are grateful for. One is to pass the salt shaker. Upon receiving it, that person shares with all at the table what he or she is grateful for. When the sharing is complete, the shaker is passed to the next person. Each one at the table is invited to speak.
The Gratitude Game involves pencils, paper and a timer. You can use the one on your cell phone that you know you’ll have with you at the table, even if everyone says they’ll put theirs away. Set the timer for five minutes and ask the guests to invite gratitude, jotting down all the things for which they are grateful within a five minute period. The one with the most, wins. There may be a small token of Thanksgiving given to the winner or just the honored title and bragging rites for next year. When the winner reads the list, however, participants are reminded of things for which they are grateful that they may not have included on their own list. Win/win.
Plan How You’ll Invite Gratitude, Now
You’ve got a couple of weeks to plan how you can bring gratitude to the Thanksgiving table at which you’ll be sitting. So for right now, take a few deep and cleansing breaths in and release tension, close your eyes and consider, “How will I bring it?”
Enchanted Breaths are the “ahh, the haha, and the aha! of life.”