Thanksgiving is one of the few times of year when people pause for a moment to recognize all that they have. But, you shouldn't reserve gratitude for special occasions.
Studies have linked gratitude to:
- Better relationships
- Improved mental health
- Better physical health
- Decreased stress
- Increased energy
- Exceptional mental strength
Here are a few simple ways to incorporate gratitude into your life throughout the year:
1. Send One Thank You Letter Per Week
Whether you thank a co-worker who was extra helpful last week, or you send a thank you note to your third grade teacher who taught you an important life lesson, show your appreciation. Not only will you brighten someone else's day, but you'll also experience a boost in your mood.
2. Write in a Daily Gratitude Journal
Make it a daily habit to write down at least three things you feel grateful for. Simple things, like a sunny day, a good meal, or a pleasant conversation could be on your list. And if you write in your gratitude journal at bedtime, researchers say you'll sleep better.
3. Establish a Gratitude Ritual
Create a gratitude ritual that will work for you. While one person might enjoy expressing gratitude over dinner each evening, someone else may find it helpful to identify three things they're grateful for when they tuck their kids in bed at night. When you make it a daily habit, you'll train your brain to start looking for the things you have to be thankful for.
4. Start a Gratitude Bulletin Board
Create a colorful bulletin board filled with pictures and notecards that represent all the things you have to be grateful for. Hang one in the office to help you keep proper perspective about the world or keep it prominently displayed in your home. Each time you look at it, you'll remember that you have many things in life to feel thankful for--even on your hardest days.
5. Create a Gratitude Jar
Thanksgiving can be a great time to start a gratitude jar. Create your own or make it a family activity to add to the jar. Every day, write down something you feel grateful for on a slip of paper and drop it in the jar. Then, next Thanksgiving, take out those slips of paper and read them over. It'll be much better than going around the table and identifying one thing you're grateful for at dinner.
6. Make a Gratitude Calendar
If you're not into journaling, expressing your gratitude on a calendar can be a great alternative. Simply use a calendar to write down one thing you feel grateful for every day. Then, at the end of each month, spend a few minutes reading over all the wonderful things you have in life.
7. Use Social Media to Share Your Gratitude
While many people use social media to complain or vent their frustrations, you can start a gratitude movement by using it to express your appreciation. Say one thing you're grateful for every single day on Facebook or Twitter. You'll likely attract some positive vibes from others and you might be able to watch the ripple effect as those around you may start expressing their gratitude more often as well.