The Practice of Gratitude

While we can choose to include expressions of gratitude in our every day lives, this time of year reminds us to give thanks for all of the blessings we’ve harvested. Acknowledging gratitude on a daily basis can help us all to feel more balanced, joyful, and peaceful. It can also aid us attracting the energy of abundance into our lives.

Often, in the busy-ness of Thanksgiving, the true meaning of the holiday can get lost somewhere between parades of oversized floats and the cranberry sauce. Here are a few reminders for expressing gratitude during this season, and carrying it into your every day life.

  • Gratitude journal: Keep a simple book beside your bed where you can jot down three things you are thankful for at the end of each day. (Or begin each day with gratitude instead.)
  • Gratitude blessing at mealtime: Before eating dinner on Thanksgiving night (or every night,) encourage each family member to share at least one thing they are thankful for from their day.
  • Gratitude garland: This is a sweet art project that uses the beautiful natural materials the earth provides for us in autumn and can be fun to do with children. Go on a nature walk and collect vibrant fallen leaves. Ask each person to write one thing they are thankful for on each leaf (using glittery pens or markers) and string them together by poking wire through them or hot gluing their stems to a lovely ribbon.
  • Thankfulness jar: Start by decorating a jar (a simple ribbon holding an autumn leaf against the jar can be a nice touch) or finding a container you love. Count your blessings all month long by writing them on little notes each day and placing them in the jar. Spend some time around the Thanksgiving table reading the notes of thanks aloud to each other.
  • Gratitude mobile: Collect leaves, acorns, pinecones, and string them across a stick or from an embroidery hoop along with lovely papers where you and/or your children write down the things for which you are thankful.
  • Expressing thanks: Send a handwritten letter or make a phone call to a person for whom you are thankful, expressing the gratitude you feel for them. It will surely brighten their day, and in turn, yours.

I’ll leave you with a quote I enjoy about gratitude by Thornton Wilder: “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”