Fall Into Thanksgiving

Fall . . . what a beautiful time of the year!  The beautiful fall colors, the cool crisp air, bonfires, S’mores, evening walks, etc.  Aaahhhh… then come the holidays.  For many people, the “aaahhhh” becomes “AARGH”!  Just the thought of the holiday season is enough to cause many people to want to “walk the plank”.  Most people get through Halloween okay, but when November rolls around, the thought of “the holidays” is enough to cause them to crawl back under the covers.

This month is all about giving thanks.  It is too easy to forget about all the wonderful things and people in our lives when we are stressed.  What would happen if you took time to make a list?  This list could be done in many different ways, but the reasons behind it are all the same – to take a step back and look at life through a lens of gratitude.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. List 10 or more people that you are grateful to have in your life.  Include reasons for choosing each person.  How do they enhance your life?  What would your life be like without them?
  2. List 10 things or events you are grateful for that have occurred in your life.  They may be current or they may be from your past.  How would your life be different had these things not happened?
  3. List 10 things you are grateful for each day.  These things could be things that occur(red) that day or could be something more general.  They could be as simple as the person who held the door for you or the cashier at the grocery store being friendly.  The most challenging part of this activity is to come up with new things each day with no repeats from previous lists.  We get so busy with life that we often forget to notice the little kindnesses, the sounds and sights of nature, and the other “little” things that we experience every day.  This is an exercise in paying attention and taking note of the here and now.  (When I do this activity with clients, I call it “The List of 5 and 5” and this is the first part.  We only do 5 to start with because it is less daunting.)
  4. List 10 things you like about yourself each day.  (This is the 2nd part of the 5 & 5 List.)  As in the list above, this is more challenging because no repeats are allowed.  People usually start this list with simple things such as “I like my eyes” or “I like the way I look in this shirt”, but as they write this list each day, the list progresses to a deeper level.  You will be amazed at what you learn about yourself!!  When you are focusing on the positives in yourself, it becomes easier to focus on the positives in others.

As you start writing these lists, you will gain some distance from the situations that cause you stress. You may “remove your eye patch, Matey” and begin to see the holidays from a new lens.  How about enjoying the treasure of Thanksgiving by truly giving thanks?  Aaahhhh . . .

This article was posted in the Coach's Corner of the ASTD Newsletter for November 2014.  You can reach Kolleen through this website, Linked In, Facebook or by calling her at (402) 499-5547.  She offers workshops, small groups and individual life coaching on a variety of topics to help you create the life you dream of but haven't been able to achieve. Check the website or call for more information.