If you were to score yourself over 10, how thankful will you say you are on a daily basis? An 8? A 4?
Gratitude is one of those virtues we know we should practise often. We know that at every point in time we should be at the very least 99.9 % thankful! But we fall short. Oh sometimes we fall really short!
Disappointments happen, and life gets tough. From slim bank accounts to stressful jobs, annoying spouses and everything else in between.
But not withstanding - we must be thankful.
When we focus on our Gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.
Although I've once claimed to be American (the hilarious story in this post) I've never celebrated an official thanksgiving. It almost always falls on my birthday week. How amazing that will be - double celebrations! Hopefully, maybe someone will invite me over soon. If you do, please make sure there's some turkey! It often looks so glorious in photos.
It's amazing that the Americans take a whole day out of the 365 or 366 in a year to be officially thankful. But we don't have to wait for that one day.
Every day is a good day to be thankful. Because although our circumstances could be better, it could be very much worse.
If like many of us, you're often super thankful sometimes and other times slightly lacking in gratitude here are some ways to cultivate a heart of constant thanks!
It's in no particular order so based on what we scored ourselves we might need one or all.
1. Take on a Gratitude Challenge
I've seen these around social media and I think it's awesome. A lot of them truly let you reflect on some things you possibly take for granted and should be more thankful for. Some challenges provide some sort of guidance - i.e a 30 day Gratitude challenge which may provide certain specifics you are most grateful for. i.e Day 1: Food, Day; Music, Day 3: Technology etc.
Others like the 100 day challenge give you the free will to choose whatever it is you're grateful for! Write down your notes in a gratitude journal and truly appreciate these little things. Reflecting on your day at night might also help you realise moments you may have missed.
2. Create a Gratitude Board:
Pretty similar to the above - but more visual. So we've probably heard about inspiration and vision boards which help us project future plans and where we will like to be. How about we create a fancy gratitude board - with pictures and clippings of some of the amazing moments, people and events we will forever be thankful for. Seeing this often does something powerful to our minds, reminding us of all we have to be thankful for.
Above the pictures, it might be helpful to include an over arching gratitude mantra - a phrase that encompasses your thoughts on gratitude.
3. Deprive Yourself of Some Things
Do you think it sounds counter productive? Like 'how on earth is depriving myself going to make me more thankful'. Well it will. Whether it's a little of a big thing for a day, a week or a longer period, depriving yourself could make you realise how thankful you are for that opportunity.
As an example, one who typically complains about being stuck in traffic may become more appreciative of having a car at all if forced to walk or use a public means of transportation. If you complain about your slow internet - try going a whole week without access to the Internet! Let's see if your perspective wouldn't change. So find something you're often not content about, and turn the tables by depriving yourself!
4. Get Involved in Volunteering!
The beauty of volunteering, particularly in relation to causes affecting the poor, homeless & less privileged, the sick and the helpless is that is really does put things in perspective and show that many times, we already have the things that truly matter and our gratitude levels should be sky high.
If you think your house is too small, try visiting the homeless and hearing their stories. And if you often complain about the distance you have to walk, imagine caring for a paralysed person. Last weekend I saw the movie 'Me Before You' - the novel is pictured above. I cried so much! After an accident William became paralysed from the neck down. It puts a lot in perspective and we must be thankful for all we are.
5. Avoid Unhealthy Comparison
The reason you're probably less thankful is because you probably think someone else is better of than you. True, lots of people are better off. But hey, lots of people are worse off. Stay thankful for where you are.
6. Watch your Words & Thoughts
We know how much what we say and think could affect our moods and general attitudes. So be sure that you're generally thinking positive and uplifting thoughts as well as speaking them out loud. Listening to inspiring podcasts, reading inspirational books and generally taking control of what you feed your inner self is a step in the right direction.
So back to the initial question. Out of a 10 how thankful are you on most days? What are your challenges to being thankful and and which of the above tips help improve that score. I'll say I'm somewhere between a 7.9 to 8.5 on most days.
And now, let's all imagine we're Americans sitting at a table with a huge turkey (and some yummy vegetarian option!) what three things are you most thankful for this year!
Share with us.
pS: I'm considering a 31 day gratitude challenge for December! Anyone want to join? Not sure what form it will take so ideas are welcome. We can create our own challenge!
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