November brings with it cooler weather, leaves of gold and the feeling of thanks in the air. It’s the perfect time to begin a practice of gratitude. You Know Neen is hosting the 2nd Annual 30 Days of Gratitude blog series, a place where the experience of gratitude will be explored and shared. I, along with several other contributors will be sharing our thoughts on all things gratitude.
There are so many reasons to be grateful every day. Even under the toughest circumstances, we can find grace in the smallest of moments, like a child’s smile or the most obvious beauties like a stunning sunrise.
But how do we express our gratitude, how do we begin a ‘practice?’ Why does it even have to be a practice? Can’t it just be a way of life? The answer is yes, it can become a way of life, but in order to get there, we need to practice. We need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and we do this by creating new habits. Here are a few ways to do so.
Start a gratitude journal: It can be a pretty bound book or a simple notepad. Pick a time that works for you – before bed time or first thing in the morning. Maybe when your kids leave for school or on your lunch break. The time of day isn’t important. The key is to commit to writing every day this month. Whatever we think about we bring about. If we think of all the things and people and experiences we are grateful for, we will bring more of them into our life!
Start with a simple “I am grateful for …” You can write about people, places, things or moments in your day. When you write the words, feel the words. Give yourself a moment to let the feeling of appreciation fill you up.
Create a family gratitude jar: Similar to the journal, you are writing about what you are thankful for. We use a boring old glass jar once used for canning pickles. Now, it’s filled with 2×2 square notes of gratitude. Leave the jar, a pen and some post-it notes in a common area of your home, and encourage everyone who comes by to jot down a note of gratitude. Have a special family dinner at the end of the month when you unfold all the papers and share your gratitude with one another.
Be aware of saying thank you every day: How many times a day do you say thank you in passing? At Starbucks, to a co-worker, to your children for walking the dog? Say thank you and take a pause. While saying thank you is polite, make it more meaningful by being more aware when you say it. When you send that simple text to say ‘thanks’ when your neighbor drives carpool, take a moment and feel the thanks when you do. It means just a little more, I swear it! Give it a try and let me know.
Start a gratitude text thread: Grab a group of like minded friends and start a “Gratitude” thread. Type one thing you are grateful for and have each person comment with their own gratitude text. You’ll be surprised at how much fun you’ll have, how much conversation it will create, and how much sharing your gratitude with one another will create positive energy within your group.
Are you starting a gratitude practice? What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments below.