With Gratitude This Thanksgiving

With Gratitude This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving and The Power of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is far and away my favorite holiday.  Our family tradition of family, food and football was something I truly enjoyed during my childhood.  As an adult, Thanksgiving offers a reset for my gratitude practice.  To be honest, I have not done nearly as good a job of practicing gratitude as I would have liked these past few months.  This holiday affords me the opportunity to renew and improve this practice.

Why Practice

Gratitude is amongst the most helpful of habits one can do.  It offers a host of benefits:

  • Helps one stay in the present moment
  • Improves connections with loved ones
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Better heart health
  • Improved Sleep
  • Long lasting positivity

Here’s an excellent article on the many benefits.

The Practice

Much like exercise, there are numerous ways to cultivate gratitude in practical ways.

Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis which I have copied from this article.

  • Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.
  • Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual. 
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.
  • Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
  • Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
  • Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).  This guided meditation on YouTube is excellent, efficient and effective.  

My favorite quote on the subject is from Tony Robbins, “When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”   I practice gratitude in 2 ways.  I do my best to take 5 minutes - sometimes at night before going to sleep or when I first wake up - to either write out or mentally recite the things that I am grateful for.  Second, I make it a point to express appreciation for someone that I meet almost every day - especially first responders, grocery and hospitality workers.  Just these two things actually raises my vibration and helps me stay present.  Going forward, I would like to add spending quiet time in nature as part of my daily routine.  Just writing these words is motivating me to head outside!  I hope that your life is filled with things to be grateful for.  Happy Thanksgiving and may your practice come alive in the year ahead.

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