Practicing Gratitude Today and Every Day
I hope those of you in the U.S. all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. Perhaps it looked a bit different with fewer familiar faces around the table amid this ongoing pandemic, but I hope you were able to enjoy a hearty meal with a few loved ones at your side. And I hope you were able to take some time to express gratitude for the big and small blessings in your life.
In fact, practicing gratitude is a powerful exercise that we can challenge ourselves to do regularly—not just once a year amid a turkey feast.
2020 has been a hard year for many of us, and we’re not short on things to complain or even grieve over. Those feelings are real and valid, and we should absolutely take time to sit in those feelings in order to work through them. In the midst of grieving, we can also reflect on the good in our lives and eagerly anticipate what's to come.
I started a new practice with my four-year-old son this year. Every night before he goes to bed, we each take turns sharing what we’re thankful for that day. The list generally includes what we had for dinner, any friends or family we visited, crafts we made, games we played, movies we watched, etc. It’s a simple practice that requires us to take a moment, reflect and acknowledge the positives in our lives.
What are you thankful for today?
I challenge you to start your own gratitude practice. It can be as simple as our nightly conversation or as robust as you’d like. The goal is to just be more intentional about expressing gratitude. A few ideas to get you started:
1. Breathe it in: Be intentional about taking time away from the day-to-day grind. Find a quiet place to get in touch with your senses—your ability to touch, see, smell, taste and hear. Gain an appreciation for the gift of life and simple pleasure of breathing it all in.
2. Start a gratitude journal: Writing things down allows you to be continually reminded of the good things in your life. You can also go back and start to identify themes so you can be more intentional about spending time on the things that bring you joy.
3. Infuse your space with visual reminders: Decorate your workspace and/or home with photos, artwork and other visual reminders of the people and experiences for which you’re grateful. These visual reminders can trigger positive thoughts when we’re feeling stressed, sad or disappointed.
4. Share your gratitude: Find a trusted buddy—like mine—and take turns expressing gratitude. Also, let others know when you’re thankful for them. We can all use a pick-me-up from time to time and showing appreciation goes a long way in building strong, trusting relationships.
At Elsey Consulting Group, we have a lot to be thankful for. We’re especially grateful for our clients and connections today and every day. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and support!