As Thanksgiving approaches it is easy to spend time in thanks and gratitude. In fact, I have seen dozens of people on social media sharing what they are grateful for and doing month long gratitude journeys via social media. I think it is wonderful that people are taking time to show and share gratitude.
I think that to practice gratitude every day, and express thanks every chance we get…is what the true spirit of Thanksgiving is about.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart
About 15 years ago I was introduced to the importance of practicing gratitude. Prior to that I hadn’t given much thought to the practice of being grateful. I discovered that spending more time focusing on gratitude can change perspective.
I have changed my gratitude attitude to become an important part of my daily life. Although I still am not at a point where I write a daily gratitude journal, I have a gratitude journal next to my bed and I write in it when the spirit moves me (and the time permits). When I see something beautifully awesome, like a brilliant sunrise, I say “thank you”. When I have to drive in bad weather and make it home safely, I say “thank you’. When someone does something kind or wonderful I tell them “thank you” on the spot. I verbally go through my gratitude at the end of every day, and include the 2 youngest girls in the practice of daily gratitude.
My goal is to turn my gratitude practice into a life of thanksgiving. In reality an attitude of gratitude goes beyond just being thankful for a beautiful sunrise or a safe arrival home. It is being thankful for everything and every opportunity we have.
That is a true attitude of gratitude. I am sure there are people who can walk the gratitude walk every day. I don’t believe I know them personally. Mother Teresa was very probably one of those people. Deepak Chopra may be, too. I would go out on a limb (skinny limb) to say that the average person does not walk that walk.
There are some very simple steps to increasing gratitude daily, which I will share with you. Say “thank you” when someone does something for you. If you are at a restaurant, say thank you to the person who seats you. Thank the waiter or waitress for their service. Thank them with sincerity and a smile. If someone does a really great job, make sure to tell the manager what a great job the employee did, and thank them, too. If someone did something nice for you in the past, call them and thank them, again; or – maybe for the first time. Let them know how much it meant to you. Remember to thank your children or spouse for the little things that they do. If they pick up their clothes, make the bed, rub your feet…(wishful thinking) thank them immediately and sincerely. Be thankful for your vehicle and a roof over your head, and food to nourish you. You might not be driving the vehicle of your dreams, live in the house of your dreams, or be dining on gourmet food every day, but what you have is so abundant in comparison to so many people in the world that we all need to be thankful for those things.
Be grateful, even, for the negative things in your life. If there is a problem in your life, take the opportunity to be as thankful for it as you can. Let’s say that something at work is stressing you out. Stop and be thankful that you have a job and that you might have an opportunity to change that thing that is bothering you.
I have found more and more to be grateful for every day. It makes me feel better about things, and it keeps me from being petty on others.
If you are not someone who practices living in gratitude here are some tips to get you started: Before getting out of bed every day, say thank you for the day, for life! Keep a gratitude journal. Spend 5 minutes before bed writing down what happened during the day to make you thankful. Try to add one unique item every day. If you don’t want to journal, at least remind yourself what you are grateful for. Tell people “thank you”. Be grateful for the negative things. Your gratitude can turn them into positives.
Thank you for being a wonderful group of women, with whom I have a strong connection. Thank you for being supportive of me in times of need. I am grateful that you are in my life!
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F. Kennedy