The holiday formally dedicated to being thankful is still a few days away, but this period of time before our annual festival of food, family, and football has its own potential for greatness.  Or gratefulness. What if we start our THANKS giving now? Why does saying thank you matter so much?

For one thing, it makes a difference in people’s lives. According to psychologists, our self-worth is positively impacted when someone tells us thank you. In fact, it not only makes us feel good, it increases the chances that we will be more generous and helpful to the people around us. Saying thank you triggers a process that is beneficial for everyone.

And saying thank you is also something that benefits the thanks-giver. It provides a lens for us to focus in on what is really valuable, and it reminds us of what makes our lives distinctive and uniquely our own. It causes us to slow down a little, and helps us see things we might have overlooked. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life,” writes Melody Beatie—not just the feast on the table but also the rich array of relationships and experiences that make up our daily lives.

The ancient Psalm says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”  (Psalm 118:24).  Let’s not wait until next Thursday to be thankful—let this be the grateful season. In the days between now and that last bite of pumpkin pie, there will be dozens of opportunities to observe and acknowledge the goodness that is all around us—so why wait? Who will you thank today?