Traditionally, the month of November is the month we remember, and the month we are thankful. We begin the month with the commemoration of all Saints Day when we recall the men and women who have done extraordinary things. This is followed the next day with All Souls Day, the day we remember all of those who have gone before us.
November is also the month we remember our Veterans, those men and women who have served, and those who continue to serve our country and ensure that our freedoms extend to all. I was proud to have participated in the Veterans Day ceremonies in Hull and equally pleased to see the number of Hullonians who turned out on that beautiful day. Hull is a military town, and it is nice to see the residents supporting our Veterans.
The end of the month brings the time when family and friends will gather and share a meal and give thanks for all that we have. Thanksgiving is just that, a time to be thankful. It has been a difficult couple of years, and we have had to sacrifice much, but we can also be thankful for all the gifts that we have received. Even on the darkest of days, there is still something to be thankful for.
But we should not limit being grateful to just one day of the year; we should be grateful all year long. This is because adopting an attitude of gratitude is not only good for our soul, but it is also suitable for our physical and mental wellbeing. In other words, being grateful all year long is a good thing.
One of my favorite spiritual writers is Diana Butler Bass. She has written several books on gratitude and how to adopt this attitude of thankfulness and gratitude. Bass has this to say about why adopting gratitude is so important. “Gratitude undoes evil by tunneling under its foundations of anger, resentment, and greed.” Gratitude changes the way we think and act and, there is some evidence, that extended gratitude rewires our brains.
Another way to look at this idea is that it takes more energy to be negative than it does to be positive. Negative energy weighs more than positive energy. Another way of putting it is that it is harder to be negative than it is to be positive.
I know that it is not always easy to be positive or grateful these days, and that is all the more reason to try and adopt this attitude. If we ever hope to make a difference in this world or make this world a better place, we need to take the chance by giving gratitude a try.
So let us make an effort to pick one or maybe two things each day that we are grateful for. Write them down, or perhaps post them on Facebook to let the world know you are grateful. If we can, each of us changes our little part of the world, then all of us, together, make a difference.
This essay originally appeared in the Hull Times November 18, 2021