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How to bring more meaning to giving thanks

Esther J. Cepeda on

Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with embracing the ethos to give more thanks -- it's an important and critical exercise to our mental and physical health, even if it has been commodified by people who want to sell us stuff.

My observations are only in service of bringing more meaning to an exercise that can quickly become just another daily task.

If you're past simply writing down all the things you ought to be thankful for, or breezing by a mental list as you dig in to the turkey and mashed potatoes, maybe you should move on to something deeper.

Just think of one answer to the questions of whom to give thanks to and for what.

It will be different for everyone. There's no wrong answer. And you won't need special note cards, stationery or gifts.

Just find those people -- whether in person or by phone or internet video call (don't cop out with texts, Facebook messages or emails) -- and tell them you're grateful for their presence in your life.

And don't just say "thank you," either. That tends to feel transactional. It can elicit a "For what?" type of reaction. Better to be straightforward. Let me give you an example:

 

I am grateful for each of you, dear readers, for your dedication to the exercise of confronting new, different or challenging ideas (or critically analyzing ideas you may already agree with). I value your time and attention. Please know that I appreciate your readership and your emails and letters, even if I can't respond to each individually. And know that, as I write, I'm always thinking of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com or follow her on Twitter @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

 

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