During the Thanksgiving season, we like to focus on all the things we have to be grateful for — family, friends, new opportunities, and so much more.
It can be a fun time of year where celebrations and traditions invoke feelings of warmth, love, and gratitude. But instead of limiting all of these things to one day, why not continue to practice gratitude and give thanks all year long?
Practicing gratitude is a game-changer. Gratitude is feeling thankful for what you receive in your life: people, experiences, feelings, and tangible objects. In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to focus on what isn’t going well — a clogged sink, a pile of dirty laundry, or a day packed with work meetings. When the focus is on these smaller things, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and brought down. Instead, focus on what is going right.
For example, be grateful that your toddler finished his breakfast without a fuss, or that you had a nice cup of coffee this morning to get your day off to a good start. These grateful moments will add up and continue throughout your day.
Daily Tips for Practicing Gratitude
Find Something Every Day to be Grateful for
No matter how your day is going, there is always something to be grateful for. Take a moment at the beginning or end of the day to jot down 1-3 things you feel thankful for. Be specific about each day. For example:
- “I am grateful I had a productive day at work.”
- “I am grateful that I had time to cook a healthy, homemade meal for my family.”
- “I am grateful that I had a few minutes to talk to my son after dinner.”
Many people use a gratitude journal or notebook to reflect on what they are grateful for. Finding a dedicated time for reflection can be helpful, such as journaling in the morning before your day begins or when you are winding down and getting ready for bed. Find a method that works for you, but try to make it a habit in your daily routine.
Express Gratitude Toward Others
How many times do you mumble “thanks” when receiving your food or something from a friend? Change your ways. For example:
- Tell your friend how much you appreciate what they did for you. “I really appreciated the time you took to bring over a book for me to borrow.”
- Write ‘thank you’ notes. Don’t forget the power of a handwritten note or texting someone for a gift or nice gesture.
- Go the extra mile and tell someone how you feel. Others may never know how much they mean to you unless you express it.
Change Your Outlook
Life is not perfect. Things can always go wrong and they often do. It’s a normal part of life that you should expect. So many things are beyond your control, but you CAN change your reaction when something doesn’t go the way you planned.
- When something unfortunate happens, recognize it and do your best to focus on something positive about the situation. You can always find something, even if it’s small! For example, if your car tire goes flat, that’s frustrating… but if you have the means to pay for it or a friend who can help you, be grateful for that!
- Just like gratefulness can spread, so can negativity. Changing your attitude quickly can change the moment, the day and your outlook.
Be grateful today, tomorrow, and all year round! Your life will be truly better for it.