It’s November, so it seems fitting to talk about the most famous day in that month: Thanksgiving. I kind of usually cringe at “canned topics”. You know, everyone’s Sunday School lesson and sermons are about Thanksgiving in November, not to mention podcasts, commercials, and other such media events. But hey, here we are. Lol.
I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. So much so that my kitchen for the past 10 years has been decorated with leaves and autumnal-y things, along with a couple pilgrim dolls. When we moved here, I wanted to have a thankful heart and to never forget the wonderful–though admittedly hard–ways that God worked to bring us to this place. His lovingkindness was great towards us and my little ‘thanksgiving kitchen’ was my way of memorializing that.
Since we first moved here, I’ve learned much more about Thanksgiving. There’s actually science behind it. Every time we take time to be thankful and practice looking for ways and things to be thankful for, our brain gives us a shot of dopamine and seratonin. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a huge role in the area of our emotions. It’s what causes us to feel pleasure and gives us that ‘natural high’ sense. Seratonin is often called the happiness chemical; it contributes to our sense of well-being, makes us feel secure, and give us our sense of relaxation. I could go even deeper into the whys and hows, but just knowing Thanksgiving boosts our emotions in the moment is enough for me really.
Sometimes, if I’m feeling low, I’ll purposely sit and start giving thanks to the Lord for everything I can think of, even something as simple as the grass under my feet, and in no time I start feeling my mood shift. Or I’ll be having trouble entering into prayer and feeling the Lord’s presence and I’ll start thanking him for all his loving qualities, and it’s not long and I’m feeling him near. Or maybe I’m seeing everything that’s wrong and am struggling with a spirit of criticism, and I’ll deliberately choose to find something in the person or situation to be thankful for and my whole sarcastic and biting attitude flip flops to the good.
And.. you know, this isn’t only if you’re a follower of Jesus—gratitude still works like this for anyone. It’s an amazement really. It’s healing. It’s calming. It’s quieting. It’s focusing. It’s uplifting. It’s happy. It’s healthy–and it’s a giant blessing. Totally!
Here’s a Thanksgiving suggestion for you: Go into a room of your house and name 15 things to be thankful for in that room, and then see how you feel after you’re done. For instance I’m sitting at our dining room table as I’m typing and so many things to be thankful for just for that one table in the room! Family, friends, holidays, birthday parties, card games, bible studies, school work, crafts, and of course, Thanksgiving meals! It makes me happy right now just thinking about all of those things and being thankful for the blessings and privilege of each one.
Once, a long time ago I knew someone who couldn’t find anything at all to be thankful for. They were truly Eyeore’s little black cloud and ended up doing damage to a lot of people. It was very sad. So, looking for ways to be thankful really is vitally important. Not only for your own well-being and sense of peace, but for everyone around you too. To live in an attitude of Thanksgiving and practice giving thanks can be the difference between a life of depression, frustration and anxiousness–and a life that triumphs in spite of all the ups and downs. Which sounds better to you? I think I know. 🙂
The purpose of Jordan’s Crossing Herbal Connections is to promote the sharing of information about healthy, natural products and dietary supplements. JCHC’s views and opinions are INFORMATIONAL ONLY and are not intended to constitute medical advice. If you are sick, injured or pregnant, please consult a licensed health care professional.