The Attitude of Gratitude: Ways You Can Be More Grateful This Thanksgiving
Often life is lived in the hustle and bustle of the chaos that surrounds us. Work, soccer and basketball practice, grocery shopping, dinner time, family time, back to work… Life can be one big, repetitive, and routine circle. We go through the year at a rapid pace, from one thing to the next. Before you know it, another year has come and gone, the kids are growing up, and life seems as though it’s passing by in a blink of an eye.
What does it mean to have an attitude of gratitude?
The holidays are no exception and become a time of year when many people feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of cherishing this time with family and being grateful, many people just wish for the holidays to be over. In reality, the holidays should be the time of year to be grateful and thankful and to reflect on the amazing people and things you have in your life.
We suggest practicing an attitude of gratitude this year and seeing how different this holiday season will be with your loved ones. Take time each day to think of the things you are grateful for. Write your list down and ponder on them from day-to-day. Living in a life of gratitude will change your perception and allow you to enjoy the little things in life more without the stress of what’s next.
Eight Ways to have an attitude of gratitude
A great way to have an attitude of gratitude is to think about what you are truly grateful for in life. Start a journal and every morning write down 3 things you are grateful for. Having them written down helps your mind to focus more on the positive then the negative.
1. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you
Verbalizing your gratitude for those you care about in your life spreads the attitude of gratitude to others, making a bigger ripple of happiness and good cheer. Simple gestures of kindness can be invaluable. Tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug. Give someone a bright smile. These little things don’t take more than a second, and they mean more than you could ever know.
Whether it’s your wife/husband, sibling, parent, friend, just let them know what they mean to you. You’ll brighten your day as well as theirs! As an added bonus, doing this with your partner can strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together.
2. Give to someone in need
The art of giving helps us to focus on all the amazing things we have in life. It’s a great way to take your mind off of you and focus on those who may be in need of life’s most basic necessities. You can give to a charity that helps the homeless or impoverished children in Africa, or you can give food to your local food bank.
Maybe you don’t have a lot of disposable income. You can still help those in need! Food kitchens and homeless shelters are always looking for help, and fulfilling such a crucial role will fill you with satisfaction and put your problems in perspective.
Another way to give to those in need is by donating your unused household items to charity. We all have things we no longer need; toys, clothing, electronics, you name it. Instead of haggling with strangers on eBay to sell your limited edition Bon Jovi T-shirt from 1992 for $5, just donate it to a Salvation Army. They’ll sell it and give the proceeds to someone who has no T-shirt at all.
3. Live your life with an attitude of gratitude
When you feel yourself getting caught in the race of life, take a few minutes – breathe and begin to reflect on all that you are grateful for in life – even when you don’t feel like it. After a few weeks of trying to live with this attitude of gratitude, you’ll notice your life beginning to shift and change as a result of your perspective-changing.
Living with an attitude of gratitude allows life to slow down just a bit, and opens the door for amazing opportunities to share love with those around you.
4. Enjoy the little things in life
Take time to savor the little joys of life. Hearing the song of the first robin of spring; taking a bite out of a freshly baked cinnamon roll; seeing a beautiful photo of a mountain landscape. Most of us just rush by, never taking more than a moment to contemplate how beautiful these little things can be.
Next time you see, hear or feel something beautiful, stop. Take it in for a minute. Enjoy what life has given you, and you’ll gain a whole new perspective on things.
5. Take a walk in nature
There’s little that will put you back in touch with your inner self like a peaceful walk through the woods early on a crisp, clear fall morning. Lace up your hiking shoes and find a trail through the nearest forest. You can bring headphones and listen to some old country melodies or classical symphonies. Whatever it is, it will help you find yourself and achieve an attitude of gratitude.
If you live in the big city, with cars veering back and forth and smog blotting out the sun, you might be thinking this one doesn’t apply to you; not so at all! Every big city these days has a park perfect for long peaceful walks, away from the hubbub of the big city.
6. Eliminate wasteful habits from your routine
This thanksgiving, an excellent way to be more thankful is by identifying the things you can do without and eliminating them from your routine. Instead of driving somewhere two blocks away, go by foot. You’ll save yourself some money and avoid damaging the environment, killing two birds with one stone!
When you go out to eat, think about what you order; instead of getting the 25 oz. ribeye steak with a Mt. Everest sized mound of mashed potatoes, get a salad. You’ll leave feeling better about yourself and you’ll avoid wasting food. It’s a win-win!
A great way to get rid of old bad habits is to replace them with new good ones. Walking instead of driving is one great way to get in the habit of exercising. Another great way would be to start going to the gym, or even implement some elements of a home gym into your home life.
7. Invite a lonely person over for Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and think about the things we have been blessed with. But what about those who have no family or very little to be grateful for. Most of us know someone like this. It might be a lonely old widower whose husband/wife died years ago, or maybe it’s a 25 year old kid running from his upbringing and family. Whatever their situation, these people will most likely spend their Thanksgiving sad and alone.
That is, unless you do something about it! By simply inviting them over to your celebration, you can brighten up their lives more than you could know. And you might be surprised; you’ll often find your celebration significantly improved by their presence. I guarantee you won’t regret inviting them.
8. Be Positive
Sometimes, the best way to be thankful is just to resolve to see things more positively. When you’re in a tough situation and you can’t see any way out, just think of this: in one year, will you even remember this situation? Probably not. Most of our troubles in this life are temporary; the best way to deal with them is just to buckle down and push through. You’ll come out the other side all the more grateful for the good times that are sure to follow.
Hopefully this Thanksgiving season you’ll find new ways to be thankful and enjoy the holiday. Whether you’re getting back in touch with your inner self by reconnecting with nature, donating to charity or including lonely individuals in you celebration, you’re sure to have a wonderful time. Here’s to a great Thanksgiving!