Thankfulness & Gratitude

Thank you - Get your gratitude goingAttitude of gratitude may be an over-used phrase, but it’s such a catchy one that it bears repeating. When we cultivate an attitude, we ultimately develop a practice, and practicing gratitude and thankfulness has been shown to improve the quality of our health and sense of well-being. It’s well worth the effort!

Thanksgiving’s focus on gratitude makes this one of my favorite holidays. Thanksgiving’s easy for me to enjoy – I love eating and I love appreciating my life. There’s a certain simplicity – and depth – that works for me.

Like many of you, I apply the principles of gratitude all year long by writing in my gratitude journal daily. Most of the time, it’s not hard to come up with a list of things from my day that I’m grateful for or, at least, appreciative of.

But sometimes I draw a blank – perhaps because I’m repeating myself in my journal and not feeling a “spark” of true gratitude; perhaps because life’s challenges are hanging heavy on me.

The year 2020 has had so much hardship and challenge for so many people, it might be a tough year to find our attitude of gratitude. Here are some suggestions to enhance your practice…

Qualities; not just “things.” Things rise up to the surface when we begin to count our blessings. We’re grateful for our home, our food, our boots and coat in winter, our porch swing in summer. The people and animals we love also come readily to mind – our partner, children, parents, extended family, friends, beloved pets.

Try adding qualities – either as a standalone or in connection with the things and people on your gratitude list. Humor and kindness are qualities I appreciate, so are generosity and friendliness. Your home might feel warm, welcoming, cozy, sunlit. Partners and friends are supportive, loving, accepting, encouraging. These modifiers expand our appreciation for all the wonderful things and people in our lives.

Look below the surface. Over and over in my journal, I mention (from a place of true appreciation!) my afternoon cup of chai tea. It’s fine to repeat something, but how about going deeper below the surface of the thing itself?

My cup of chai is the culmination of so many factors to be grateful for – the person who created the combination of spices that make it so special, the earth that grew the tea leaves, those who harvested the leaves, the people who packed and shipped the leaves and spices to the store, the sunshine and water that helped the plants grow, and so on.

Going below the surface expands your appreciation and offers myriad aspects for which you can be grateful. The possibilities are endless!

Just show up. Some nights when I go to write in my gratitude journal, I’m distracted, uninspired, or already falling asleep. On those nights, when my eye lands on my gratitude journal, I pick it up, take pen in hand, but just write, “Thank you,” or “Love.” Sometimes I don’t even pick up the journal but instead hold my open hands on my lap and express gratitude silently through my heart.

The point, in my mind, isn’t the form (writing in a journal), but the consciousness to notice your gratitude, to feel it in your heart, to let it register. Ultimately, that is what creates the attitude of gratitude – an attitude that you carry through most moments in your day.

Thanksgiving Day is the reminder to be thankful. Let it be the day you re-boot your gratitude practice for the coming year.

Comments

  1. Kathleen Melvin says

    I appreciate your communications, Janet. I am grateful for your integration of high ideals, and desire for growth with our daily existence. I am grateful for the way you model grounded communication. With yourself and with others. Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful for your light .

    • Spiral Energies says

      Thank you for reading and for commenting, Kate! You are a blessing to all you encounter and I am thankful for you!

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