Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’ve enjoyed a special time with loved ones around the table. As you reflected on the past year, I hope you’ve had a chance to consider all of the blessings in your life.
In the last couple of years, many people encountered difficult and uncertain circumstances. We faced a mixture of trials and happy times. Whatever the situation, we can usually find some aspect to be grateful for.
I’m not talking about just trying to stay positive when life gets rough and unsettled. I’m talking about noticing how God shows his grace and kindness to those he loves in both good times and hard times.
After all, James 1:17 says that God gives us “every good and every perfect gift.” John 1:16 tells us, “From the fullness of God’s grace, we have all received one blessing after another.”
And the neat thing about being grateful: We are psychologically wired to feel better when we take time to think about our blessings!
The Increased Happiness of Grateful Living
Did you know that giving thanks makes you happier? In fact, studies show that spending just five minutes a day in gratitude increases your happiness by 25%! Evidence shows that expressing gratitude improves relationships, outlook, increases endurance, and improves health.
A Harvard study found that those who kept a gratitude journal felt more optimistic and had fewer health problems over the course of the experiment.
So, in celebration of this holiday of pumpkin pie and turkeys, I’m listing nine things we, as professionals, can be grateful for.
9 Things to Be Grateful For as a Professional
If you make a list of your own (which I encourage!), you might find that some of your choices differ. However, use this list as a springboard to remind yourself of the blessings in your life.
1. Your Job
Naturally, the first thing on the list for professionals to be grateful for is employment. I hope you’re in a position you enjoy, but even if you don’t like your job, it still lets you provide for yourself and your family. It gives you the opportunity to use skills, learn new ones, and move toward your professional goals. Think about the ways your job challenges you to grow and allows you to supply the needs of your household.
2. Your Family
Of course, your job doesn’t (and shouldn’t!) constitute the whole of your existence. Your loved ones form the backbone of your life. They make up your home and give you a place to belong. You love and provide for them, and they love you and give you a valuable foundation. Take time to express your gratitude to them.
3. The Other Professionals Who Make You Better
Your colleagues and friends in the profession give you a community in which to grow and move toward your goals. They inspire you to enhance your skills and expand your thought patterns. They hold you accountable and root for your success. Give thanks to these people who help you become a better version of yourself.
If you don’t have a community of goal-focused professionals to help you prioritize your objectives and see an abundance of growth, visit our website or apply to join one of our mastermind groups online.
4. Your Struggles
Yes, you read that right. The last eighteen months caused you to adapt, learn, innovate, and grow, personally and professionally. You’ve probably faced other hardships, besides. You’ve probably made several mistakes. Ben Franklin said, “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” You are stronger and wiser now than before. Acknowledge all the ways you’ve changed for the better because of the challenges you’ve overcome.
5. The Simple Things
Everyone can benefit from giving thanks for the mundane. Food, shelter, clothing, transportation, air—life is made of the everyday stuff people tend to take for granted. Each of these items is a gift you’d certainly miss if it disappeared. Take note of the simple things you get to use every day.
While we certainly want to set up healthy boundaries with technology, we must appreciate the advancements that have simplified so many of our processes. Even in the last year, developers have drastically improved methods of communication. Glance around and see the tools that bring abilities we’d otherwise go without. Remember the ways technology helps you connect with others and work smarter.
Even as much as we produce and go, we need to reset, every day. Our brains and bodies need rest in order to function. We need it to manage our tasks and make it through our evening activities. Take a breath and feel the ways rest benefits every aspect of your work and life. Also, consider it an opportunity to look at your vacation schedule for the next year.
8. Your Hobbies
Whether you enjoy a sport, a craft, or listening to an audiobook on the way to work, consider how your activities enrich your life. If you don’t have something completely unrelated to your career for a hobby, you need to look for one. We all need something that gives us energy and joy outside of our usual responsibilities.
Children tend to laugh hundreds of times more than grown-ups. As adults with responsibilities, we’ve become too serious and have forgotten to enjoy the comical in everyday moments. Laughter certainly increases happiness. Enjoy the lightheartedness of a moment and give thanks!
Sometimes the pressures and expectations of the holiday season stir up all kinds of emotions and anxieties. Meanwhile, deadlines loom at work and social gatherings dot the calendar. Don’t forget to rest when you need to, and keep yourself grounded with reminders of your blessings. You can write them in a journal or, better yet, talk about them with other people. Your challenges may or may not disappear, but I promise, your mood will begin to lift.
If you get stuck in the stresses and cares of the season, remember the words of this 19th-century hymn:
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev'ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
As you practice habits of gratefulness, reach out to other professionals who can partner with you to produce a fulfilling and confident lifestyle. Check out our website and apply to join one of our mastermind groups online.