Those of us who live in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving this week.
Although I believe that the U.S. and Canada are among the few nations that have a holiday with that official name, many other countries and cultures have similar celebrations – often times to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.
If a holiday had been designed with Positive Psychology in mind, it would have had to be Thanksgiving.
The concepts of gratitude, appreciation, and sharing quality time with family and friends are incorporated int the fabric of Positive Psychology. Some individuals and families take the extra step of inviting to dinner those who might be alone during the holiday or down in their luck this year. It is a way of validating their importance and affirming those things that make us human.
In Goal-Achieving Psychotherapy, as well as Positive Psychology in general, a key principle in personal growth and emotional development is tied to the importance of social involvement. Those of you who are pursuing or experiencing a Proactive Positive Explosion at The Mental Health Gym know that you get “extra credit” if your social activities involve doing good for others.
Whether you are living in a country where Thanksgiving is formally celebrated, be it this week or some other time, this would be a good time to develop the habit of taking time out – at least once a week – to appreciate those things for which you are thankful. It would be even better if you could share those positive thoughts with others.
While celebratory dinners are often too time-consuming and expensive to do on more than an occasional basis, it is important to not neglect the positive effect of a friendly phone call or word of thanks in a world where we can get overloaded, overworked, and over-stimulated by news that is often negative.
Thanksgiving can thus be an ongoing behavior pattern – not just an event.