It really is a day to be thankful. In Canada at least, where most of our readers reside, the day was formally set aside by Vincent Massey, a former Governor General (the Queen’s representative in our constitutional monarchy). Massey’s January 31, 1957 proclamation was worded as follows: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October.”
So there we are.
Celebrating in October means we’re a month or more ahead of our American friends, which is just fine as we Canadians tend to be nothing if not practical when it comes to holidays (no point in setting aside a Thursday, which is what the U.S. does in November, when we can make a long weekend out of it).
And there’s good reason for doing so.
Yes, it’s true that when we give thanks, we remind ourselves about the things for which we should be grateful. But in doing so, we also push out of our minds, even for a few moments, things about which we might otherwise be complaining.
Call it the reverse of multi-tasking, which is really a myth anyway.
Another example—pretty closely related I would say—is a practice that involves showing kindness to someone who isn’t expecting it. Paying it “backward” in the drive-thru of your favourite coffee shop sounds like a pretty good example, especially if you don’t know the person you’re blessing with a little “here you go.”
It just makes you a little bit happy for having done it.
So today, or sometime later this week (this kind of habit has no “best before” date), try exercising your “thankfulness” muscle.
Believe me, it’s there. It just might not have been put to its intended usefulness in a while.
And while we’re at it, Happy Thanksgiving!