With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, I’ve been putting some thought into what I’m thankful for so that I have something good to say at the beginning of dinner. Our family tradition is to go around and everyone gets as much time as they want during the first serving. We usually hit on a lot of the big things – family, home, food, health, etc.
Really though, why is it only one day out of the year we practice gratitude? And why are we typically only recognizing the big ticket items? There is so much to be thankful for EVERY DAY! And when you recognize it, your life can be greatly improved in a few different ways.
- You will be happier! The number one benefit is for your own satisfaction in life. Taking a minute or two every day to think about what you appreciate in life, no matter what it is, will really change your perspective. The studies I’ve seen show an overall increase in satisfaction by 10-20%.
- People will want to help you! When someone knows you appreciate the effort they put toward you, it motivates them to do so. It makes it enjoyable, so the situation is more of a win-win. And next time you ask, he/she/they will be more willing to help you again. Just remember to pay it back when they come to you!
- Life will pay you back! This falls into what you attract in your life, but the general idea is if you always focus on want, the universe thinks “not ready yet.” But, if you appreciate what you have already, and what it does for you, the universe thinks “can handle more!”
- You will be a Better Person! When I see people that can’t seem to say thank you, I always am reminded of those seagulls in finding nemo; the ones that only know the word “mine!” and repeat it over and over.
There are a few different ways to implement these practices into your life.
Say it Out Loud: You could very simply just make it part of your dinner ritual for everyone to pick something they were grateful for during the day.
Write it Down: A really powerful technique to see results is to keep a Gratitude journal. All you need is a small notebook that you take a moment to write in every day, maybe before bed, everything that you can think of that you appreciate. After a month or two, you will have a pretty solid list to fall back on after a bad day.
Put some Thought into it: At the beginning of this month, I participated in a mediation on gratitude. It starts off getting into the zone – completely relaxed and focused. Once we were there, the initial focus was to just think about all the things we are thankful for in life.
The Real Challenge:
Being thankful for the times we struggled, were hurt, or the people that hurt us. It’s important to consider this aspect, because while getting the things we want important, the hard parts are where we really become strong and grow. And very often in life, it’s from destruction that comes a new beginning.
Whatever works for you, take the time to do it!
Please share something you’re grateful / thankful for below! If you’re really daring, share a struggle you faced and the good that came from it.