This Thanksgiving, before we dig into the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, many of us will take a moment to give thanks. Some of us will do it eloquently, maybe in the form of a prayer, some hurriedly so the food doesn’t get cold. However, the day after Thanksgiving our moment of gratitude is often forgotten as our focus turns to Black Friday sales and Christmas shopping.
It’s a shame because taking time out every day to “count our blessings” is uplifting and can be healing. Renowned journalist Deborah Norville and the author of Thank You Power says, “As science is now proving, feeling grateful can actually make us healthier, literally. Practicing gratitude, acknowledging the blessings in our lives, and making it a point to recognize the good things can change us positively. We’ll sleep better and exercise more. We’ll feel more optimistic. We’ll be more alert and engaged. And if we do this over a period of time, we’ll realize that we’re making progress toward our life goals.”
My yoga instructor understands the power of being thankful and ends our sessions with a gratitude practice. We take a moment to cultivate the feeling of gratitude in our hearts, and let it fill our mind, body, and spirit. “Blessings and gifts will overflow ,” she reminds us, “and return back to you a thousandfold.”
Oprah Winfrey has often spoken about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal. “If you can concentrate on what you have,” she says on YouTube, “you will always end up having more.” She goes on to say that writing down five things she’s grateful for on a daily basis is the single most important thing she’s ever done.
How does one fit a gratitude moment into every day? Consider picking something you do daily such as taking a shower, shaving or putting on makeup, or walking the dog. Commit to using some of that time to reflect on five things you’re grateful for and the reasons you picked them. If you’d prefer to keep a gratitude journal, choose writing at a set time such as before bed. Keep the routine, and a month from
now, reflect on any differences. Are you sleeping better? Are you exercising more or making progress toward your goals? Are you happier?
I especially like the idea of a daily gratitude walk. I pull on my boots, grab the leash and the dog, and set off for the woods. I’m grateful for the cold; no more biting mosquitoes or danger of getting poison ivy. I’m grateful for this canopy of trees over my head giving the planet fresh oxygen. I’m grateful for my delightful dog who gets to run off-leash since even if she flushed a rabbit and gleefully chased after it, she would come back. And finally, I’m grateful for the people in my life, including you, dear readers.