Do you have an attitude of gratitude? It’s November, and for us here in the USA, that means we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving. In addition to being the national holiday celebrating the bounty of the Pilgrim’s first harvest, we also set aside time to reflect on the bounties of our personal lives and what it is we are thankful for. I want to expand on that concept here, and talk about how having an #attitudeofgratitude every day can empower and improve our lives.
Studies have proven that maintaining an attitude of gratitude greatly improves not only our mental happiness, but our physical health as well. Who couldn’t use more of that stuff, right?!?! Some of the ways we will experience this improvement are:
- We will have a more optimistic outlook on life
- We will be better able to see all the opportunities that lie before us
- We’ll be better able to achieve our goals
- We’ll experience less stress, and be stronger during trying times
- We’ll have increased empathy, and experience more satisfaction in our personal relationships
This isn’t about ignoring the negativity or denying difficulties in our lives. It’s equally important to be realistic and deal with the less pleasant things in our lives as well. But when we can do that, and come back to our #attitudeofgratitude , we will experience the measurable shift in how we perceive life. Being consistently thankful is a way of letting life happen through us, not to us.
Here is a round-up of some of my favorite ways to bring more #gratitude to every day:
5 Ways to Bring More Gratitude Into Your Life
- Gratitude Journal – at the end of each day, write down a few things you’re thankful for from that day. Make sure the number of “gratitudes” is the same every day (my favorite number is 5, in case you can’t tell. Some days this is easy-peasy, some days 5 is a challenge). On the days where it’s easy for you to think of your “gratitudes”, you’ll realize what a big bounty you have! On the days where it’s a challenge, you will learn how to persevere when the going gets tough. Remember: being grateful for small things is just as powerful as being grateful for the more profound things in your life!
- Regularly send Thank You cards/letters – When was the last time you wrote a Thank You card, or wrote someone a letter letting them know how grateful you are to have them in your life? Hearing of other’s #gratitude is just as beneficial as expressing it. Renewing the practice of writing Thank You cards after receiving a gift or to anyone who has done something for you is a great way to keep the gratitude flowing in both directions. But don’t feel like you have to wait until Christmas to send a Thank You card! Thank a friend for supporting you during tough time, or for always being a source of joy in your life. Thank your family member for being there for you. Thank the people you share your home with for helping you to create a place to retreat to and take comfort in at the end of your day. By expressing our gratitude to others, we expand our experience and the benefits of being thankful.
- Express Gratitude at Each Meal – Whether or not you are religiously inclined, expressing gratitude at the beginning of each meal is another wonderful way to practice having an #attitudeofgratitude . We are thankful for the food, the people who helped prepare it, the employees of the business we bought the food from (or the people who gifted it to us), the people who grew/raised the food, etc. Go as far back as you can think of, and imagine each of those people feeling your gratitude. With consistent practice, you will notice how the experience of your meal changes. This is also a great way of empowering your food with love as you cook/prepare your meal. Taking a moment before eating to express gratitude is one of the simplest ways to integrate the practice of consistent thankfulness into every day.
- 30 Days of Gratitude – If you really want a challenge, you can jump on the social media bandwagon and take part in 30 Days of Gratitude. Usually starting November 1st, people share one thing they are thankful for every day, for the entire month. I say, why limit it to only November? You can begin this practice at any time, and for any length of time that feels right for you. Again, sharing what we’re thankful for with others helps increase the benefits of this practice for everyone.
- Gratitude Jar/Box – Another one of my favorite #gratitude practices is keeping a Gratitude Jar or Box (this can be done with any container, these are just what I’ve used). Simply find a container that you like, and decorate it in a way that inspires you. You can paint it, decoupage it, or leave it as-is. I highly recommend writing the word “Gratitude” on it, at least. Every day take a piece of paper and write down something you’re thankful for from that day. You can be as brief or as detailed as you want. You can designate a special period of time to do this for, or just wait until the container is full. If you live with others, this is a great way to get your entire household involved in the practice of being consistently thankful. At the end of the designated time, or when the container is full, get everyone together (or grab a comfy spot on your own) and go through the pieces of paper. You can read them out loud, and allow yourself to once again experience that gratitude. Another great use of this is to have something to use for inspiration on the days where life is a little tough and you need something to bring you back to your #attitudeofgratitude .
These are just a handful of ways to bring more gratitude into your life. I’d love to hear of some of your favorite ways to have an #attitudeofgratitude ! Leave me a comment, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’m so grateful for YOU!