The practice of “Living in Thanksgiving” can be truly life changing. All virtues have value and being thankful revitalizes the entire mental process by activating all other attitudes, thus stimulating creativity and joy. In fact, it has been said that the most powerful prayer is only two words, “Thank you!”
According to experts who study the science of happiness and health, an “Attitude of Gratitude” is one of the highest emotional states possible, bringing in appreciation and happiness, while chasing out negativity. Without lower emotional states, such as disappointment, resentment or regret, we experience more emotional freedom and we’re naturally happier and healthier.
Start a gratitude practice.
The Thanksgiving holiday offers a wonderful opportunity to launch a conscious gratitude practice. There are many ways to practice being thankful on a daily basis, most very simple, but all quite powerful.
Remember, gratitude is a “perspective,” therefore it’s difficult to extend it to anyone unless you start practicing it as a way of life. As the famous saying says, “Practice makes perfect!” Pick a couple options below and start your gratitude practice today!
- Practice saying, “Thank You,” for happy and challenging experiences, people, animals, nature, art, memories, and dreams. Make “thank you” a common phrase in your vocabulary.
- Start your day with a prayer and a clear intention of being more grateful. Be thankful that you rose from sleep successfully yet another day and that you might have the chance to change or shape your life or someone else’s life through your interaction with them. Understand that what we pay the most attention to in our lives is what we get more of in our lives.
- Look for the positive stories in the newspapers, read uplifting books, notice the beautiful fall leaves and tune in to the birds singing. You don’t have to be oblivious to the harshness of life, but you can focus on being grateful for the good parts.
- Keep a gratitude journal. List 10 (or more) things you’re grateful for in your journal each day. Choose an attractive, bound journal for this effort to show the honor you give the practice of expressing gratitude.
- Start a gratitude calendar. Write something positive daily in your calendar to up-lift your attitude and re-set your perspective.
- Collect positive affirmations and quotes about being thankful and keep them handy in a fancy little box to read and share with family and friends. Review the list on those occasions when you forget to be grateful.
- Find a story and photo about someone with fewer gifts, abilities or opportunities than yourself who is nonetheless is achieving much satisfaction in his or her life. Humbly contemplate how grateful you feel to be healthy and able. Never forget your life could change in an instant.
- Sign up to volunteer in your community. Helping those less fortunate than yourself is the best way to show gratitude for the gifts and abilities you possess.
- Write “thank you” notes to friends, family members or co-workers.
- Do one (or more) random act of kindness to a stranger each day.
- Take someone out to lunch or dinner as a gesture of gratitude. Buy someone coffee.
- Utter blessings, and express your appreciation to everything and everyone you encounter. Be a blessing; and you will be blessed.
- Be present. When talking to a friend, try to avoid being distracted with other things, like making dinner or your to-do lists.
- Practice “beauty appreciation.” Savor the pleasant things daily, like the rising of the sun, the whispering of the wind, the majesty of the moon and stars. This practice filters out the root of bitterness as you embrace your day and effectively neutralize the impact of bad experiences. This frees your heart and opens a window to joyful and grateful living!
A gratitude practice can really open up our heart and make us aware of the many riches we’ve already created in our life that might be taken for granted. This practice increases our realization of prosperity and abundance on every level, and thus our ability to manifest a better life and more happiness.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”