A. J. Jacobs in the New York Times:
In our house, it has always been the most dreaded part of Thanksgiving. More painful than hand-scrubbing the casserole pan. More excruciating than listening to our libertarian cousin. I speak of the custom of forced gratitude — of going around the table and telling everyone what we’re thankful for.
For years, the Jacobs family responses, mine included, were almost always disappointingly bland (“I’m thankful for my family”) or relentlessly inane (“I’m thankful for my Nintendo Switch.”)
Still, I believed it was a ritual worth saving. Not because I am particularly sentimental. But because there are so few moments in life when we battle our brain’s built-in negativity bias.
There are scientific and health benefits to gratitude, too. I’ve discovered those in the past couple of years, as I’ve been working on a book about gratitude. So I’ve been on a campaign to update the gratitude ritual, to rescue it.