It’s easy to forget what this Thanksgiving is all about. It’s more than turkey, stuffing, stretchy pants, football and family dynamics. It’s about one of my favorite words of all time:
Gratitude is defined as “Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful”.
And this is especially important to keep in mind during Thanksgiving. This is the one day a year when we acknowledge what we are grateful for. Although it’s great to share what you’re grateful for this holiday it’s important to remember that we should be doing it all year round.
For me everything changed once I started practicing gratitude in my everyday life. Many of the top teachers in the wellness field agree that practicing gratitude everyday will bring positive changes in your life.
I used to believe this was all bullsh*t. How could I be grateful for what I had when what I had was not what I wanted? But that is the point. By being grateful for what we have RIGHT NOW even when it’s not what we want, sends out positive vibes into the universe to attract more of what we do want. Taking our focus off of lack allows more room for abundance.
Oprah writes this more eloquently than I ever could by saying “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
So how do we bring more gratitude into our lives? It’s simple. Shawn Achor writer of Before Happiness and other amazing books on how to be happier, studies positive psychology. He explains studies have shown that even by implementing 1 of these 3 practices into your life elevates your level of happiness. And who doesn’t want to be happier?
Here are Shawn’s lists of 3 ways we can practice more gratitude:
- Gratitude journal
I know. I know. You’re already rolling your eyes at me. A gratitude journal? REALLY JEN? But it works I swear! Every morning or night before you go to sleep jot down 3 things your grateful for. Another way of doing the gratitude journal is to choose 1 thing your grateful for and 5 reasons why. You can also write about a meaningful experience that happened to you each day. It could be something big or as small as someone holding the door open for you. Whatever tickles your fancy. The gratitude journal helps you to put things into perspective. It helps you to appreciate what you already have RIGHT NOW instead of focusing on what you don’t. Don’t roll your eyes. Just give it a try.
- Send a thank you note.
Send a thank you note to someone who means a lot to you or someone who did something really nice for you. This can be on a beautiful notecard, email, text, phone call or face to face. Can you imagine the smile on that person’s face while reading your note or hearing your words? Gratitude breeds gratitude. Studies have shown that practicing gratitude has a ripple effect on the people around you. Caution! You may start to notice people around you being more appreciative, happy, joyful, positive and grateful.
- Random Acts of Kindness
You would be surprised how many people actually freak out (like scared and nervous kind of freaked out) when you do something nice for them. Like when you pay for your Starbucks and the person’s behind you. They are so confused and sometimes angry! “How dare you pay for my coffee! Who do you think you are?” Or “I don’t understand. Why would someone do that?” Almost like someone stole your Christmas decorations. But once they realize what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, they instantly melt. Sometimes even burst into tears. As a culture we are not used to the idea of someone doing something nice for someone else just because. It’s about as foreign to us as not being on our phones 24/7. It just doesn’t happen. A random act of kindness could be anything from smiling at a stranger to buying the person’s groceries behind you. Again the ripple effect with take place and people will start to pay it forward.
Gratitude is the key to bringing more joy, happiness and positivity into your life. The good news is you can start doing it right now! These are 3 simple and easy ways to start practicing. Around Thanksgiving is a great time to start, but don’t stop once the holidays are over. Practicing gratitude helps to elevate your mood, energize you, have deeper more meaningful relationships with others and helps to transform your way of thinking and living.