When we all sat down for dinner last Thursday, we were prepared. Most of us over the age of six know that part of the Thanksgiving ritual is the giving thanks. We go around the table, highlighting the things we are most thankful for this year. Parents prep their kids, and their own remarks, so that the tradition continues unbroken. It is a wonderful tradition, acknowledging what we have been blessed with, and giving thanks.

Interestingly, though, some research suggests that the way to improve giving overall is not just in being grateful for what we have received, but that a way to create more altruism is to acknowledge the ways in which we have already been generous. By listing what we have given (not just what we have gotten), we are creating a mental picture of ourselves as generous and caring humans, and we are more likely to continue to give. Turns out, we like to have an internal consistency. If we think we are generous, then often we actually are more generous.

So, today, let’s think about what we have given to others over the Thanksgiving holiday – the meals we made, the rides we shared, the ‘listening ear’ we offered older relatives – and allow for the creation of our image as givers – especially as we make our way through the rest of the holiday season.

Happy Post Thanksgiving!

Giving and Receiving