Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude

Happy November!  Expressing gratitude for your life and the good things in it daily is a wonderful & healthy thing to be doing year round, but especially during the month of November!  Practicing gratitude in a real and meaningful way leading up to Thanksgiving is a perfect way to kick off the holidays.  I’ve found that really concentrating my efforts on expressing gratitude on a personal level, and with my family, really helps freshen my perspective.  Doing it consistently makes it easier to find and appreciate all of the good in your life!

Sometimes when we think of practicing gratitude, we have the misconception that we have to be doing large scale things.  On the contrary!  Often times, the best gratitude exercises are the simplest.  Here’s a handful of easy, yet meaningful ways you can practice gratitude this month.

1. Start a Gratitude Jar
Every day, write a few things you were grateful for on a slip of paper and put them into a gratitude jar.  When you’re feeling down, open up the jar and read some of the things you are grateful for to cheer you up.

2. 5 Experiences a Day Gratitude Journal
It’s easy to be grateful for material possessions, but this exercise will get you thinking more and more about the interactions and experiences you have each day.  Get a little notebook, and at the end of the day jot down 5 of the best things that happened all day long!  They could be your own experiences, or something that you witnessed happen to someone else that made you feel happy.  This will help you notice goodness all around you!

3. Make a Gratitude Tree 
This is a really great exercise to do with kids!  Tape a big poster of a tree up on your wall, and every night at dinner time, have everyone in your family write something they were grateful for that day on a paper leaf, then tape it up to the tree.  It’s a great way to engage children, and to help them recognize all that they have. By the end of the month our tree was full, and to this day at dinner time, they always want to say what they’re grateful for.

4. Daily Meditation/Reflection
One of the best ways to tap into gratitude is to spend some time each day in quiet meditation.  Do this every morning, and you’ll be sure to find lots of things throughout the day that speak to your soul.

5. 1 Thing You’re Grateful for a day Gratitude Journal- Get Specific!
If you want the most Return on Investment on your gratitude practice, you need to stop being too general.  Instead of simply listing one thing you’re grateful for a day, dive into the details.  Instead of saying “I’m grateful for my husband”, come up with 5 reasons why you are grateful for your husband.  Write a paragraph or two.  What has he taught you?  How does he serve you?  What do you love most about spending time with him?  Once you dig a little deeper, your gratitude will really grow.

6. Write a Card or Send a Text Every Day of the Month to Someone You are Grateful For
One of the best ways to show gratitude is to thank the people in your life that make it so good. Take a few minutes every day this month to express love and appreciation for the many different people that have touched your life or helped you become a better human being.  It could be your child’s teacher at school, an old childhood friend, or your grandma.  The sky is the limit, and this exercise will get you reflecting on your life experiences.

7. Take a Photo Every Day of Something You are Grateful For
If writing isn’t really your thing, that’s okay.  Photos can tell a lot about us!  Take one photo a day of the things going on around you that bring you gratitude.  Post it on social media, or simply create your own photo journal to turn to when you need a boost.