With Thanksgiving upon us, some think that the time to be more grateful has come around. But there are ways to begin to cultivate gratitude now, and keep it with you all year long!
Being more grateful is often associated with being a happier person. The kindest people we meet say please and thank you even when those terms are not necessarily warranted. But they may understand something: words do have a way of changing our mindset.
Gratitude Changes Everything!
Embarking on a lifelong journey to be thankful for what you have isn’t always easy yet with time, you can be more grateful all year rather than just thinking about it only on Thanksgiving day. So here are 7 ways to practice gratitude today to help you live a more thankful life.
- Appreciate LITERALLY Everything – You can’t be picky when it comes to being grateful. You have to appreciate the smallest things. Take the time to say “thank you” if someone holds open a door for you. Thank the driver in front of you (in your head of course) for using a turn signal. Appreciate a clear sunny day or just be grateful for the day itself when you wake up. There is nothing too small that doesn’t deserve our thanks. Being grateful for the small things makes being grateful for the big things so much more meaningful.
- Be Thankful When Facing Challenges in Life – This one can be a tough one. It’s hard to focus on the good and find hope in situations when everything seems to be falling apart. But we can be thankful for the things we do have, and the little things that are going right. Remember #1, there is nothing so small that we can ‘t be grateful for it!
- Become More Mindful – Practicing mindfulness can feel like a time consumer. But it’s worth it! To work on this, try sitting down quietly at the end of the day and think of 5 or ten things you can be truly grateful for. Picture these things in your mind’s eye and really focus almost as if you are meditating. After several weeks of doing this, it’ll be a habit and you’ll be mindful of all the things you have to be grateful for.
- Volunteer – Helping those who are less fortunate than you are is a great way to give back, but it also helps you realize that you really do have so much you can be thankful for. Even if you choose to volunteer at an animal shelter, the dogs and cats will surely show you their gratitude and you’ll be thanking yourself for making the decision to give back!
- Write Someone a Thank You Note – Soul Pancake, a group that works to discover the “science of happiness,” ran an experiment where they encouraged people to write a letter to a person they were grateful for. By itself, this exercise increased their levels of happiness from 2 to 4%. However, when the same people made a phone call to the person they were thankful for to express their gratitude directly, happiness levels jumped from 4% to 19%. But this is a way to make someone else happy too!
- Improve Your Happiness – If you have a particular area of your life that you are not completely satisfied with, try sitting down and figure out how to improve the situation. Make changes where you can to improve your happiness and the gratitude for making that decision will soon follow! Here are some great tips to get started.
- Spend Time With Loved Ones – No matter how bad my day has been, it makes me a lot happier when one or both of my kids offer to help with dinner. We spend time together preparing food and talking about our day and after we’ve eaten and cleaned up, it’s easy to be thankful for that time and for the meal we all just had a hand in creating.
Cultivating gratitude this holiday season is pretty easy for most people. But staying grateful throughout the entire year can be harder. If you feel the need to be more grateful for the wonderful things in your life, try the tips above and see if they help. If you have any ideas for our readers to help them feel more grateful in their everyday lives, leave them in the comments below!
Thank you for reading! We are grateful for all of the wonderful Ready Nutrition readers out there!