5 Ways to Embrace Gratitude This Holiday Season

We have cycled around to another holiday season.  Thanksgiving is upon us and we are pausing to take stock in our blessings.  An “Attitude of Gratitude” is the motto of the day.

Our world is so focused on the negative and it is easy to get caught up in that spiral.  If we wait for the news to change or our neighbors to change or the state of society to change, we will be waiting for a long time.  We each have a responsibility to make the changes that we want to see in the world.  It takes practice to see our own world through a different lens.

Practicing gratitude with the small things impacts everything else.  You begin to see the world through the lens of gratitude and you stop focusing so much on the negative side of the world.  It cascades throughout everything.

“Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If you are able to be grateful for a warm cup of coffee in the morning, it becomes easier to be grateful for the bus driver who delivers you safely to work.  Then you become grateful for your coworker who helped you with a project.  And when you get home from work, you become grateful that your children have the opportunities for a healthy meal and an education.

Once my husband was in the grocery store with our son and he told him smiles are contagious and then proceeded to test the theory.  Everyone they smiled at smiled back.  Gratitude is also contagious and the more we are grateful, the more those around us see the blessings in their lives too.

So how do we cultivate this same level of gratitude in our each and every day?  Here’s 5 strategies to build gratitude into your daily life:

  • Gratitude Journal
    • Begin or finish each day by writing in a journal, electronic or pen and paper, makes no difference.  Write down a minimum of three things you are grateful that day.  Big or small.  Gratitude for the ability to make your bed or gratitude that you survived a car accident – both build the habit of gratitude every day.

 

  • Set an Alarm
    • Use your smartphone to set 5 or more alarms throughout the day.  Each time the alarm goes off, pause for a minute to think of something you are grateful for in your life.  Again, big or small, gratitude is gratitude.
  • Post-It in Bathroom
    • On your bathroom mirror, steering wheel, or any common place, post a sticky note with the question, “What are you grateful for today?”  If you want to get fancy, you could stencil it or create some beautiful plaque, but be careful that it doesn’t become so decorative that it fades into the background.  You want this note to be noticeable so you look at it every day and answer the question.
  • Ritual
    • Create a ritual around a certain event in the day in which you give thanks.  For example, pausing before a meal to reflect on your blessings.  Our family regularly does a round-robin at the dinner table sharing our gratitude.
  • Gratitude Box
    • Buy a beautiful box or decorate a plain one.  Leave a stack of small pieces of paper and once a day write down a item of gratitude.  At a regular interval, weekly or monthly or so on, open the box and read what you have written down.

Incorporate one or more of these into each day and gratitude will begin to become habitual in your life.  And then that habit will influence those around you and bring more joy and blessing into your life.

Call to Action: Share in the comments what other ways you bring gratitude into your daily life?

 

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