November is the month of Thanksgiving, the time of year when many of us turn our thoughts towards the many things we are grateful for.  Throughout the month I have read many blogs and updates from friends who have taken on the challenge to post their thoughts of gratitude online every day of the month.  Now on day 30, I would hope that they have created a habit and continue in their attitude of gratitude.

New research shows that practicing gratitude may be the fastest single pathway to happiness, health, long life, and prosperity. In a remarkable study performed by Dr. Emmons, people who kept a gratitude journal for just 3 weeks measured 25% higher on life satisfaction afterwards. They exercised more, drank alcohol less, and their families and friends noticed that they were nicer to be around. And the effects lasted for several months beyond the initial 3 week study. Other studies on gratitude are confirming these results. People who take the time to notice and appreciate the good things that come their way through grace, or luck, or the goodness of others are happier and more peaceful. They do better on cognitive tests and tests of problem solving skills. They practice healthier habits, have better relationships, are more optimistic and live longer. Gratitude is one powerful emotion.

So here are a few ideas on how to continue livng your life with an attitude of gratitude every day of the year.
  1. Keep a gratitude journal:  jot down just a few items that you appreciate having in your life.
  2. Pray: give thanks to God for the blessings in your life
  3. Enjoy the beauty around you: look at your surroundings with big eyes
  4. Give a hug: showing love is a great way to show appreciation
  5. Live mindfully: take the time to savor what you do and experience life with all your senses
  6. Send a thank you note: send off a card, email, post-it note, or letter to someone you appreciate
  7. Look in someone’s eyes, smile, and say thanks: personal connections warm two souls at once
  8. Reflect on happy memories: see the good things you have experienced and relive that joy
  9. Offer a compliment: acknowledging someone encourages you both to succeed again.
  10. Be kind to yourself: do something nice for yourself and be grateful for being uniquely you!

 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.” 
 —Melodie Beatty

At the close of this month remember that Thanksgiving is more than just turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie…Thanksgiving is a way of life.  What are you thankful for?