Whether you are in the holiday mood or not, Thanksgiving week is here. No matter what your investment portfolio looks like, it’s the season we’ve set aside to reflect on what matters.
Let’s be honest though… telling someone to be thankful is about as helpful as telling someone to stop worrying. It’s akin to that classic Bob Newhart comedy sketch, where he repeatedly tells a woman who fears being buried alive in a box to simply “STOP IT!”.
We can get so caught up in the stress of everyday life that gratitude itself feels like another chore. Some of us may have had a very challenging year. Others might have ridden one wave of success to the other.
Either way, surely, we can be grateful. In an age of increasing outrage and polarization, along with the constant bickering and barking back and forth that ensues, we could all use a mouthful of thankfulness. Gratitude gives your brain a shot of dopamine and serotonin, and the more often one “activate(s) these ‘gratitude’ circuits, the stronger these neural pathways become and the more likely we are to recognize what’s going right instead of always looking at the problem.”1
Here are some practices that might be of help.
Look around you. Take your eyes off screens or incessant navel gazing. Lift your eyes to a swaying tree, a starlight sky, or your grandchild’s beaming face.
Write it down. You may not be the kind who is ready to start a daily gratitude journal but pausing to write down seven things you’re grateful for this week is a good start. Why not take a few minutes and do it now?
Tell someone. Give voice to it. Thankfulness, like joy, is not a private matter. It is meant to be shared. Call up a family member or friend and specifically identify something about them that you are thankful for.
Finally, thank you for reading these weekly posts. And, if you are a client, Dave, Sani, and I are grateful that you have entrusted a part of your financial life to us. Thank you!
Now, go enjoy your family, friends, and feast!
1. “The Neuroscience of Gratitude”. Accessed online: https://www.whartonhealthcare.org/the_neuroscience_of_gratitude (10/28/21)