Blessed are the fruits of the earth that give themselves for our use.

~ A family grace

Thanksgiving’s history is tied in abundance, the harvest and gratitude for the bounty of the earth and the efforts made to receive them.  It is an opportunity to stop for a moment, acknowledge our life’s blessings and recognize the abundance we have in our lives.

Being grateful creates very specific benefits for us in health and wellness.  Research has shown that it helps us feel more positive emotions and better appreciate good experiences.  It improves our health including sleep and stress and our ability to deal with adversity.  Giving thanks helps to build strong relationships.

Here are nine simple ways that you can get into the spirit of the season and enjoy the benefits of giving thanks.

1. Share what you have with others

Whether you make a financial donation to a cause of your choice, invite people into your home to share a meal.

2. Write a Thank You card

Receiving a written Thank You card in the mail is such a treat!  The act of writing the card – considering what you want to say and feeling the feelings of gratitude as you share your message is great for you.  And all of those feelings get sent in that envelope and shared with the receiver.  For the cost of a stamp, you can make someone’s day.  Have kids? Make the cards to send.

3. Go to the Farmer’s Market

Wonderful produce, meat, flowers, crafts – oh my! Thanksgiving at the Farmer’s Market is the best day – everyone comes out with their very best.  Enjoy running into friends you haven’t seen, chatting with the vendors and filling your fridge with healthy, local food.  Great food, great prices.  Good for the environment and good for the farmers.

4. Walk in the woods

Such simple pleasures.  Choose some pretty leaves to decorate your table and enjoy the quiet of the forest.  Go by yourself to drink in the peace of the place, or bring the kids, dogs and neighbours for an afternoon of play.

5. Create a gratitude tree

Choose branches from the yard and arrange them in a vase.  Decorate them to your eye and create small tags to hang on the tree.  Invite your friends and family to write what they are grateful for and hang it from the branches.  Get as creative as you want!

6. Help others

Volunteer, donate, chip in.  Offer some assistance to an elderly neighbour. Drop off some food at the food bank. Put a few hours in at the soup kitchen or the charity event. Enjoy yourself and the other people people who are there.

7. Give public praise

When was the last time you acknowledged someone in a public way?  Consider who has been working really hard or stepping into themselves in a big way.  Maybe it is someone at work who has really helped out, or one of the kids has been sticking to their homework and making progress.  Maybe your spouse has made you feel really special.  Thank them in a public way and give them the opportunity to be in the glow of that praise.

8.  Invite a friend

Are you having the family to your home for Thanksgiving Dinner?  Who do you know who is on their own? Invite them to join you for some family fun.

9.  Give hugs

Many people don’t get enough human contact, particularly the elderly.  Offer hugs to those close to you.  Consider offering hugs to others – visit a retirement home or take to the streets to offer free hugs.  #freehugsbarrie

© 2013 www.karencollacutt.com

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Personal finance expert, Karen Collacutt is founder and CEO of Make Friends with Your Money.  Karen works with ambitious people who are making good money but are wondering where it all went at the end of the month. She helps her clients to get clear on their money life challenges and opportunities, matching their money to their goals.  They build a plan, confidence and peace of mind around their money.
Certified Money Coach and Certified Financial Planner, Karen brings over 15 years of finance and business experience to her clients. Coach, speaker, author and change catalyst for those ready to create a positive and empowered money life, Karen delivers a fresh perspective on how to make friends with your money.  www.karencollacutt.com.
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