I’ve been seeing several people sharing daily posts about gratitude on Facebook this month, in honor of Thanksgiving.
It warms my heart to see friends not just giving 90 seconds of lip service to gratitude before eating entirely too much turkey and stuffing, but really cultivating a habit of noticing all the blessings in their lives.
For a few years, I did a blog series I called Month of Thanksgiving. The first year, I wrote daily about how and why to be thankfully, then the second year I turned it into more of a gratitude journal, giving thanks for specific things and people that made my life better.
To get you in the mood for Thanksgiving, here’s a recap of some of my favorite Month of Thanksgiving posts:
Ways become more grateful. One of the most common ideas I run across is keeping a gratitude journal, writing down a few things you’re grateful for every day.
- If you need inspiration about what you’re grateful for, the Love List Project can get you thinking about what makes you happy.
- Once you’ve thought of some things that make you grateful, you might enjoy sharing them on Facebook or Twitter (When I wrote this, it hadn’t become the popular trend it is now — I’m so happy to see that it has!)
- You might also enjoy reflecting on why you’re grateful for each thing on your list
Overcoming the obstacles to gratitude. We all have frustrations, regrets, people who’ve hurt us, things we wish we had or things we wish were better. If you’re feeling any of these things, try to convert them to gratitude:
- acknowledge the things you hate and try to find something you love in each
- reflect on your regrets and give thanks for the lessons your mistakes have taught you
- try to forgive the people who’ve hurt you, or at least to find something to be grateful for in the hurt
- try to redirect your desire for things you don’t have to gratitude for things you already have
- if you’re grieving, reflect on the reasons you’re grateful to have known the loved one you’ve lost
- embrace life’s imperfections — if you throw a dinner party and it goes terribly wrong, at least you’ll get a laugh
- find time to be grateful even if you think you don’t have time to give thanks
Need ideas about what to give thanks for?
- If you put most people on the spot and ask them what they’re grateful for can come up with some of the basics: health, a safe home, enough to eat. Just because they’re cliche doesn’t mean we should take these for granted. I gave thanks for my husband, my family and my friends.
- How about simple pleasures like sleeping in late on weekends, the smell of autumn leaves, hot coffee waiting when you wake up? What little things put a smile on your face?
How can you show your gratitude? If you’re getting into the habit of doing a gratitude journal, you might want to express your thanks beyond just writing it down as a personal exercise.You could:
- do a little dance
- write a thank you note
- give a gift that helps remind you of something you’re grateful for
- give and receive thanks verbally
Give Thanksgiving a real focus on giving thanks. You can find loads of Thanksgiving-themed gratitude projects for kids online. But I think these sorts of participatory thankfulness projects are great even for a room full of adults.