Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude
For us, November is a month of thanksgiving where we spend the entire month strengthening our attitude of gratitude. In America, we celebrate a day of thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally, on this day we gather with family and friends to enjoy a bounteous feast together and to give thanks. While there are many different traditions surrounding this day, the feast remains the highlight.
While we do believe that it is important to set aside a day dedicated to giving thanks, we also believe that demonstrating thankfulness in our daily life is even more important.
Gratitude is a powerful weapon against depression, anxiety, anti-social behavior, and stress. Research has shown that being grateful can actually improve your overall well-being, strengthen your relationships, and improve your ability to bounce back from bad experiences.
If you look carefully you can see that when you have an attitude of gratitude you become a different person. In general, you become more generous in what you give to the world, rather than having feelings of entitlement. When you are thankful, you view the world optimistically knowing that much good can come from the outside. Gratitude gives us the ability to hold on to the positive experiences we have had for longer and the more gratitude we have the less room there is for negativity and thoughts of depression.
Zig Ziglar, one of the world’s most influential motivational speakers, said that “The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more you will have to express gratitude for.”
In fact, studies have been conducted that demonstrate that those who consistently express gratitude experience higher levels of dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These are all neurochemicals within the pre-frontal cortex of the brain that contribute to feelings of happiness. That should give us a little more to be grateful for.
How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
A key phrase in the studies conducted above was “consistently”. Unfortunately, we can’t experience these high levels of positive neurochemicals or the benefits of gratitude if Thanksgiving Day is the only time we express thankfulness. Therefore, gratitude must become part of our daily routines.
In the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear talks about the principle known as Habit Stacking. Habit Stacking happens when you “stack” a new activity that you would like to make a habit on top of a strong habit you have already cultivated.
For instance, let’s say that every morning for the past few years you have made yourself a cup of tea to start your day. If you wanted to successfully begin the habit of expressing gratitude you could “stack” this habit on top of the already strong habit of morning tea. By joining the expression of gratitude with your habit of morning tea, you are more likely to stick to your new routine.
Eventually, your daily expression of gratitude could become an automatic response to an experiential trigger. This is the point at which subconsciously you express gratitude automatically regardless of external forces. To achieve this it would require an internal transformation of character which can be achieved through meditative practices or mental repetition.
How Can Tea Help?
For the most part, Americans are always on the go, and tea time tends to go right along with it. However, in other parts of the world, tea time was intended as a break, as a time to slow down. When we slow down we are giving our life the gift of pause.
When we are non-stop we miss the positive things that happen in our life. They pass us by like the subway train on the opposite side of the tracks. When we press pause we give ourselves time to reflect on the good and express gratitude for the positive things we observed. Tea time, when given time, affords us this opportunity.
Jordan B. Peterson, the famous Canadian psychologist, once tweeted, “Writing is thinking formalized.” If, while we wait for the water to boil, we take a moment to write down a few things we are grateful for, we can more thoughtfully and specifically solidify the details of what we are grateful for.
In addition, tea is also a time to socialize with others. If we use these opportunities to outwardly share our gratitude towards the people in our lives we can strengthen our bonds with others. Imagine if you were able to thoughtfully express thanks for something you notice about a friend, how might that be received?
November Teas to Help You Get Started
We are grateful for this past year and the opportunity we have to continue to provide quality loose-leaf tea to help improve the health and wellbeing of others. We are grateful for the opportunities we have found within the past few years of chaos to serve others, cultivate better understanding with others of differing viewpoints, and build our character as well as our business.
We are thankful for the gratitude you express and the attitude you are cultivating of thankfulness. We wish you success as you continue to make this a daily habit of character. To help you continue to do this, here are a few of our favorite November teas.