With yesterday’s arrival of another Thanksgiving Day, gratitude and thankfulness got their yearly spotlight. But how can we practice gratitude everyday, not just visit it once a year?
Turns out, there are many fascinating studies which confirm that gratitude can elevate creativity, productivity, and happiness. We’re told we need to be thankful, but often left with only that advice. How can we build daily thanksgiving into a habit? Give these tips a try first thing in the morning, on a lunch break, or right before bed. It will take minutes but yield a harvest of thankfulness!
Count Your Blessings…by 3’s
A great place to start is with relationships. Who are three people you’re grateful for? Next, list three work/career thanksgivings. (If all you can list is the moment you leave your work each day, it might be time for a change!) Finally, what are your areas of personal growth and what progress are you making?
Think Big (and Small)
In my post on journal templates, I suggested keeping a gratitude journal. One way to quickly list thanksgivings is to avoid the trickier, mid-sized blessings (Those can often be mixed advantages — I’m looking at you, car that carries me to work but needs a new valve cover…) and instead focus on the big and little things. Of course the big things! Health, knowing I’ll have shelter, food, water, warmth — so much of the world can’t claim these for their own. We’ve had holidays spent in hospital waiting rooms, to stay near our loved ones. Every time I pass the hospital during this time of year, I remember those times, and pray for those who are there this year.
And all the wonderful small things! The delicious smell every time I open my spice cabinet, watching my pets play (or, rather, watching the dog ignore the cat…), a soft sofa, an incredible cup of coffee, the late-autumn sun on my face. Whatever else is going on in the world, my home is peaceful. Check out this delightful book by Bil Lepp, The King of Little Things. It’s a reminder for the whole family — little things are powerful!
Look for the Lesson
Hal Elrod and Jon Berghoff have a fantastic podcast, Achieve Your Goals. In it, they frequently coach listeners to look for the lesson in every obstacle, hardship, and trial. Sound trite? It won’t when Hal tells about looking for the lesson during aggressive leukemia. That puts my obstacles into perspective pretty darn quickly…
Sounds easy, right? Forgiveness is something else we all know we should do, but few of us know how to go about it. Focus on the Family has a helpful article, with step-by-step guidance. The past can be difficult to let go, but a free future is worth the effort. Forgiveness might be the best gift to give ourselves for the year-end holiday season. How would it feel to take a deep breath without the burden of unforgiveness? Go for it. You’ll be so thankful you did.
As the end of 2017 draws nearer, keep daily thanksgiving in mind. When it comes time to ring in the New Year, you’ll be a step ahead of the resolutions! What are your favorite ways to practice gratitude?