November is a wonderful time to reflect on our blessings and cultivate a gratitude mindset.
What are you grateful for this day, month, year? Are you not sure? Well, guess what? It doesn’t matter!
Searching is what counts. Just thinking about what you’re grateful for will train your brain to look at your life differently and your thought patterns will begin to change.
Here are three simple ways to incorporate the practice of gratitude in your life this month:
Join A Gratitude Challenge
Challenges are great because they get you focused on the goal you’re trying to achieve. Spending 30 days or more working on a specific goal gives you the opportunity to create a positive habit… and if it’s a habit that you can stick to, you can incorporate it into your lifestyle. Inviting friends and family to join your challenge is also a great way to stay accountable and it can make the process more fun.
Maybe you’re unmotivated or too busy to start a challenge, but recognize the importance of practicing gratitude. Here’s something I’ve been doing with my kids for two years and it’s been wonderful. I created a “What are you thankful for?” routine.
Every morning I take my kids to school. The first thing I do when we hop into the car is ask that question:”What are you thankful for?” Then each one of my boys and I have to say at least one thing we’re grateful for. There have been many mornings that my kids are sleepy, or we had a fight before we left the house and we’re all still mad at each other, or they’re upset for some other reason. On those days, it can be really hard to transition from bad mood to saying thank you to the universe. But I’ve insisted on creating that discipline. So even when I’m fuming, I take a deep breath, drive for a couple of minutes and then say, “Okay boys, what are we grateful for this morning?”
Sometimes their response is “nothing,” or “I don’t know.” When I get those answers, I begin a series of questions.
“Did you guys wake up this morning?
“Yes,” they say half-heartedly.
“Did you wake up in a cozy bed, with warm covers?”
“Did you have food to eat breakfast?”
“Do your parents have a car to drive you to school in?”
You get the drift. I run through every mundane thing that we did that morning to show them all the things that we take for granted but are really blessed to have or do. And then I let them choose which one of those they want to be thankful for. Believe it or not, it works! It has been great training for all of us and has become our morning routine.
Read a beautiful story about how you can have gratitude mornings even from a distance here.
Now we’re all so well trained that the kids have gotten very creative. They tell me all sorts of random things they’re grateful for, like, their hands or crayons.
Share your Gratitude for others
Tell the people who have made a difference in your life that you’re thankful for them. You may think they already know how you feel but you have no idea what it means to someone when you can genuinely share something about them that you’re grateful for. Maybe they helped you in a moment of need. Maybe they’re that friend that you run to whenever you’re excited about something. Maybe they impacted your life with their kindness or generosity. Or maybe they’ve just always been there for you and you can’t imagine your life without them. Make this month the month you call them just to say thanks. Or invite them to a gratitude dinner. You can also send them a postcard!
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the day to day business of the holidays, but make it a point to carve out some time for what really matters. Those few minutes of your day can make a huge difference in your life.
A Moment of Clarity
This November marks one year since I started this blog. Although I’d been writing over at Pile On the Greens for years, starting this blog marked a decision. The decision to turn my writing hobby into a speaking and writing career. It meant that I committed 100% to sharing inspirational stories, tips, and lessons with you every week, regardless of the circumstances.
And so this week I wanted to say THANKS to YOU. Thank you to those of you who faithfully transitioned with me from my former blog to this one. Thank you to those who are new here. And thanks to all of you who believe in the Be There Even When You’re Not project. Thank you for letting me have space in your inbox and in your hearts.