Gratitude, what does it mean to you? The definition of gratitude is "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." Being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I believe we all have many things to be grateful for, no matter our circumstances. Even in the darkest moments of life, there is something to be grateful for. Many times we overlook the power of gratitude and its ability to change the way we see our circumstances and the world. So, how can we exercise our "gratitude muscle" this season? Let's look at a few ways!
1. Keep a gratitude journal. I've heard many people say how powerful this exercise is. The idea is to write down three to five things every day that you are grateful for. They have to be new each day, and they have to be specific. For example, "I am thankful for having a car that safely and quickly gets me to where I need to go each day." Once it becomes a habit, you will start to see the effects of this exercise. Perhaps you will look at things differently. As the late Dr. Wayne Dyer said: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
2. Speak your gratitude. Everyone has a desire to feel appreciated. When we tell the people in our lives how we appreciate them, it's a win-win situation. They feel appreciated, and you feel good for making them happy. A great exercise to try, is to state three to five things you appreciate about someone. This would be amazing to do with your family at dinner, or perhaps at the holiday table this year, or even the next time you see someone that provides a service for you. Give it a try; you will be amazed at how thankful people are to hear words of gratitude!
3. Acts of kindness. You can show gratitude by doing something kind for someone you know or a stranger. I love the whole "pay it forward" movement. The idea that if you've been gifted an act of kindness, you will repay it with an act of kindness towards someone else. Paying for someone's coffee in line or their toll fee are small ways to spread kindness. Perhaps gifting your postal worker a small gift to let them know you appreciate them and the service they provide you.
Gratitude is very powerful. Give one of these exercises a try this holiday season and watch the ripple effect it has on you and those around you! May your Thanksgiving be blessed, and may you be a blessing to those around you!
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