Happy Thanksgiving!

My son and I were talking about Thanksgiving the other day and I was trying to explain the holiday to him. I mentioned that it’s a day when we all think about what we’re grateful for. I gave him the 5-year –old version of my definition, but I thought I’d share the most useful definition of gratitude I’ve come across with you, the writing community here at Live to Write-Write to Live, a community I am so grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Definition of Gratitude*

First, gratitude is the acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life.

Second, gratitude is the recognition that the source(s) of the goodness lies at least partially outside the self.

Using this definition, gratitude is more than an attitude, more than a feeling. It requires a willingness to recognize that:

  • One has been the beneficiary of someone’s kindness,
  • The benefactor has intentionally provided a benefit, and
  • The benefit has value in the eyes of the beneficiary.


*adapted from Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, by Robert Emmons.


Some Gratitude Resources


Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, by Robert A. Emmons, PhD

The Psychology of Gratitude, by Robert A Emmons

Gratitude: A Way of Life, by Louise L. Hay

Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude, by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Gratitude: A Journal, by Catherine Price

Forgive For Good, by Dr. Frederic Luskin

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, by Brene Brown

Guided Meditation CD

Becoming The New Human: Creating Change Through The Power of Our Emotions, Audio CD of Guided Meditations by Evelyn Rysdyk and Allie Knowlton


Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon, MD: is a writer, blogger, life coach, family physician, mother, and stepmother. I am so grateful to this community for it’s support and encouragement. Thank you!

The Gratitude Journal – Giving Daily Thanks

With this week hosting Thanksgiving (in the States) it’s a good time to be thinking about what we’re thankful for — daily.

We may have talked about a gratitude journal before (heck, there can be a journal for anything, can’t there?) But I find the gratitude journal to be particularly inspiring, especially on difficult days.

open journalGratitude journals are the quickest kind of journaling I do (for the most part). I write in mine each night before turning the light out. It’s my way of ending the day on a positive note. And it’s particularly handy when the day had challenges.

I first started this type of journal when I was a corporate employee and had some struggles there and at home.

The goal is to write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for. And writing them down in the form of I am grateful for ………….

I remember a few entries looking like this:

  • I am grateful for my fleece socks.
  • I am grateful for my bowl of cereal.
  • I am grateful  for toothpaste.
  • I am grateful for toilet paper.
  • I am grateful for hot water.

Some days we can be so appreciative of the basics in life. Other times we may find ourselves going deeper into feelings, experiences, opportunities, friends, family… so many things.

My goal is always to find something new to be grateful for. If one day I’m grateful for a matching pair of ankle socks, the next day may be gratitude for a clean pair of dress socks or no run in the nylons. The winter gratitude lists definitely have more of a warm theme to them — warm hat, gloves, etc. Summer is a cool theme.

I can be thankful for the muse showing up, for my characters writing their own stories for me, or sometimes I’m grateful that the characters argue with me until I see their point.

Separate from the journal, I’m always thankful for a new day — and usually express that when I wake up. I say it out loud to the Universe: “Thank you for a new day to explore and experience.”

And then the evening is the writing of 5 particular things that pop into my head.

Fresh apple pieLast night’s list:

  • I am grateful for getting my bike tuned up and the old bikes donated.
  • I am grateful for Little Sis being inspired to be a writer – she says it’s because of me.
  • I am grateful for the 4 delicious pies Little Sis and I made – 2 to donate, 2 to share.
  • I am grateful for 3 new paying writing opportunities.
  • I am grateful for my floor agreeing to turn the heat up on such a cold day!

Of course you can make up your own ‘rules’ — it could be more or less than 5 items, you can duplicate items every day until something new pops in your head, it could be specific types of things.

I create my list by capturing whatever pops in my mind when I grab the notebook and pen to make the list. As soon as I’m done writing (and I write, not type), I am grateful, I generally don’t have to pause before something comes out. Not always the case, but most times.

And like I mentioned at the start, I find this particularly beneficial at the end of a challenging day – when I’m not happy about anything and stressed about what’s on tap for the next day. Focusing on finding something good/nice/positive about the day takes the edge off.

Some days I’m grateful for being able to blink; for being able to breathe, for being able to hold a pen; for having a pen that writes, for having paper to write on, for having someone wave hello to me, for my cat not waking me up early.

I’m also in the habit of saying “Thank you” out loud when something particular happens or comes my way. And the more I give thanks, the  more I find I have to be thankful for.

I hope that your life is full of things you’re grateful for!

Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. She loves writing about NH people, places, and activities. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.