Guest author: Stef Wrase
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. You get to eat delicious food, spend quality time with family, and not have to worry about stress of presents or anything like that. It’s a laid back and joyous celebration- focusing around giving thanks.
Gratitude is a practice we should all get into doing frequently, not just on Thanksgiving. Count your blessings everyday, because no matter how bad things might feel, someone else always will have it harder than you. I greatly believe in the power and importance of gratitude. Personally it helps me stay grounded, positive, and keep my problems in perspective. Here are some tips for keeping a gratitude journal.
Studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful —benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness.
The basic practice is pretty straightforward. Record 3-5 things in which you are grateful for daily or weekly. Doesn’t have to be daily, as burnout can happen, which makes it less impactful. Here are a few tips to get started:
Make it meaningful- spend a few extra minutes and really make it thoughtful. Don’t just go through the motions. The more detailed, the more meaningful it is, and the more impactful it will be.
Make it personal- focusing on people makes it more impactful. It can even encourage a better relationships, as it makes you more aware how much you value the other.
Savor surprises- recording events that were unexpected during the day tend to bring about a higher level of gratitude.
There are many ways to journal. Some people like to have a special journal just for gratitude, you can incorporate it in your daily food/reflection tracking, or there are numerous apps out there for gratitude journaling (Zest is one that I found to be simple, and gives you reminders to reflect).
It doesn’t need to be difficult, there are many things you encounter daily that you can reflect on as a blessing. Here are some examples:
People- friends, family, co-workers, your trainer, your child’s teacher, the mailman, the cleaning service, the starbucks barista… think out of the box on how people help make your day better
Possessions/things- your home, phone, computer, car, pets. your work, the weather, your income
You- Your health, the ability to exercise, your senses, your memories, education
Next time you have a big challenge, learn to be thankful for the learnings, experience and wisdom you get from it. Shifting your mindset to focus on positive side of things will make a difference in your daily life. I encourage you to make November a month of giving thanks.