Thanksgiving is an especially important holiday in my life! This is due to several reasons. 1. It marks the first time during the school year that I have enough time off to run home and see my family. 2. Home cooked food is worth any journey even if it's a 2300 mile journey. 3. Gratitude has become a HUGE factor in my life over the past year.
Why is gratitude important? I've been researching into positive thinking, how to change and improve your life, how to be more productive, and how to be happier. What do all of these topics mention? Gratitude. It's a leading force in becoming a better person mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. How can you get anywhere if you don't appreciate where you are right now? The fact that you are reading this already implies numerous reasons to be grateful. You have eyes, internet, computer access, electricity, and you're literate. Right there you're better off than a whole bunch of people in this world.
Can you be grateful even though you want to improve your life? YES. My life is loaded with things I should and do appreciate. Yet, I'm still working daily to get where I want to be in life. I'm grateful for everything that's helping me reach my goals. I'm thankful for my voice lessons, dance lessons, living situation, school, the funds that help me afford the previous things, nourishment, books that inspire and teach me how to set goals or change habits, the people in my life who support me, sleep and a job-- to name a few. Yet, I am restless to keep growing and moving forward. That doesn't make me ungrateful. I'm not trying to improve my life because I don't value it-- I'm doing it because I value it. Kapish?
The habit of gratitude affects your entire mindset, which in turn affects your entire life. When I walk to school, I'm especially conscious of exuding gratitude. It's way too easy to fall into a negative pit about not getting enough sleep, waking up early, not feeling entirely prepared, running a bit late etc. into a downward spiral of thanklessness. So, on my commute to school I make it a priority to notice the beauty of everything around me. There's an energy that goes along with this appreciation of your life that impacts every decision, thought, and interaction you have. For me, it's a tangible energy I can feel inside my chest and stomach-- a genuine excitement for what will happen next. It's a wonderful feeling.
I've been working over the past year to incorporate more gratitude into my life. Here are my favorite ways to exude gratitude.
1. Gratitude Journal
This is without a doubt my favorite way to be thankful. My mom has been suggesting a gratitude journal for years, but I never really gave it a chance. Last February, I let stress take me into a negative tail spin. When asking my mom for advice on how to stop, she mentioned the gratitude journal again. That was February 1st, 2016 and I have been writing in it ever since. This was key in becoming a more positive person. A gratitude journal is an easy way to remember how much you have to appreciate. Simply put, at the end of the day you write down three things you're grateful for. Mind you, this can be as little as your favorite key chain or as big as a promotion or your spouse. I keep my gratitude journal beside my bed because it's a good way to end the day.
2. Thank you
Adding this phrase to your vocabulary is another simple way to increase gratitude. For me, I use "thank you" as a type of affirmation. I repeat "thank you" in my mind hundreds of times a day. It keeps me in the right mental place-- one of gratitude and excitement-- and instantly boosts my mood. I repeat it whether something good, bad or neutral happens. It helps me to stay focused, appreciative and ready.
3. Thank you notes
Thank you notes used to be a matter of manners. I know that my parents were both brought up knowing that these were mandatory after an event or holiday. Today, it's less of a rule. But who doesn't love mail and being appreciated for something they did? If someone takes the time to invite you to an event they've planned, send them a thank you note. If a person goes out of their way to get something for your birthday or Christmas, thank them. Trust me, it will make both of you feel good! There's nothing wrong with adding more good vibes to the world.
4. I Have:
This is a trick for when you're feeling especially down. On those off days when I'm having a rough time finding it in me to be grateful, I make a list of absolutely everything I have; a home, dogs, pencils, shampoo, warm clothes, coffee, teeth-- I continue on like this until it drags me out of my "I don't have xyz" mindset. It's incredibly effective. Have you ever stopped to realize just how much you do have? It kind of makes that one thing you don't have much less significant.
Gratitude is helping me to fall madly in love with my life. It's amazing how much your mind and outlook can change by just taking the time to notice everything that's going well for you.
I hope today was an exceptionally good day for you and your families! Thank you for reading this post! Happy Thanksgiving!