There exists a rich body of literature regarding the importance of gratitude and its positive impact on our overall well being, and sometimes it is difficult to translate all of this knowing about gratitude into doing gratitude. In the article 10 Ways to Be a More Thankful Person, author Andrea Uptmor shares the following ways that we can begin practicing gratitude in our lives (https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/10-ways-be-more-thankful-person):
- Say aloud three things for which you are thankful each day. We all know the importance of our words. Use them each day to remind yourself of the good in your life.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Writing is a great tool for reflection, and it provides a great historical record for review when things maybe are not going your way.
- Say “thank you” to those closest to you. It’s easy to take those closest to us for granted.
- Use gratitude as a calming tool. Throughout the day when things become stressful, remind yourself of the good in your life to help return to that point of calm focus.
- Thank yourself. This sounds a little odd, but it really is healthy to thank yourself for the good you do for yourself and others. One of my sons is particularly good at this. When he does something well, he blurts out, “Good job!” and gives himself a high five and heartfelt “woo!” While it looks a little silly, we might all be a little better off if we praised ourselves a bit.
- Use technology to send three gratitude messages each week. Years ago expressing gratitude to others would have involved writing a letter and going to the post office. Today with email and social media, we can connect with others very quickly. Use those tools to reach out and make someone else’s day better.
- Savor the good moments. Enjoy the really good moments in your lives. Don’t let anything interrupt the joy of those times.
- Identify silver linings. Look for the good. You may have to dig deep, but you are likely to find something along the path that can be positive.
- Look outward, not inward. People who are others-focused tend to be more grateful and willing to share their gratitude. Find someone to help, and you will ultimately be helping yourself.
- Change your perspective. Even a brief change in point of view can return your thankfulness. Be willing to look at situations from different angles.
As we prepare for our Thanksgiving Holiday break, think of how you can add these practices to your life. You will be glad you did!