Being grateful isn’t something we should only focus on at Thanksgiving. Being mindful of what you appreciate in your life will not only make you more content, but will also make you a good friend to those around you.
How to be thankful year-round:
1. Practice being grateful until it becomes a habit.
Sometimes we have learned behaviors which make us more negative than positive. If you practice intentional gratitude every day, it will become a new habit. If you make this part of your daily routine when things are going well, it can be very sustaining during challenging times.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Every night jot down a couple of sentences about something that you were grateful for that day. It doesn’t have to be something major, it could be as simple as a beautiful sunset. It’s the act of writing down what you are grateful for that brings them to the forefront of your mind. If you’re having a less than perfect day, it’s a great thing to look back on to remind you there’s always something good in your life.
3. Use the Calm app.
This popular app can teach you how to meditate, get more restful sleep and use gentle music to help you focus and relax. When you feel calm you are more likely to see what you are grateful for around you rather than concentrating on negative thoughts.
4. Write a letter to someone who had done something kind for you.
Do you have fond memories of a teacher who helped you recognize a talent? Someone who went above and beyond to offer excellent customer service? A friend who brought you chicken soup when you were sick? It’s never too late to write them a thank you note. If you send the letter to them it will be effective in two ways. It will show them how much you appreciate them and it will give you a chance to remember a time you were thankful. If you prefer you don’t even have to send the letter, just writing it will help you to remember.
During the holidays people may struggle with difficult family relationships, financial pressures or losses they have experienced during the year.
Dr Caroline Morrison M.D. says: “Instead of pushing these thoughts away, trying to sit with our sadness and anxiety and look for the life lesson can help us to feel grateful for what life has thrown at us. Recognizing that adversity can make us stronger, can help us be more grateful for even bad experiences.”
By navigating adversity, we learn how to use new coping skills and develop an effective support system.
“We may learn more about the people in our lives, for better or worse, and be grateful for this knowledge,” she added.