Today, as I complete the November Gratitude Challenge, I am especially grateful for how just one month of intentional daily gratitude has made a difference for me.
Gratitude has always been something I just “do in the moment.” For example, when I see a beautiful sunset or taste wonderful food, I often find myself being grateful. It has also been something I try to do at night as I’m about to go to sleep. That “method” of gratitude doesn’t work very well for me because I’ll think of something I am grateful for and the next thing I know, Annie has hijacked my thoughts and I’ve gone down multiple “rabbit trails.” Or I fall asleep, which is nice, but I don’t really get the full experience of being grateful.
Often starting a new habit can be challenging, but adding the practice to my already established morning routine was simple and seamless. Writing it down keeps Annie from taking over my thoughts. It also causes me to reflect on the events of the previous day and what is to come for the day ahead. Writing down what I am grateful for has helped me slow down and not just think about what I’m grateful for but also enabled me to feel the gratitude in my heart.
Another benefit I’ve noticed by practicing gratitude every day is that it has caused me to be more aware of moments in my day when I can be grateful. I’ve become more mindful of things that I often overlooked, such as gratitude for each meal, a hot shower or even a glass of clean water. Intentional daily practice has magnified grateful moments in my day and so I am thankful for that.
Don’t forget to be grateful for the things that are perhaps not so great! I learned that lesson too! We purchased a new refrigerator just before Thanksgiving and noticed after the delivery guys had already left that they had damaged it during delivery. It was more than a week before we got a replacement. In the meantime, we put our food in a small refrigerator downstairs. Every time I prepared food, I had to go downstairs, get what I needed and then take everything back downstairs to put it back in the refrigerator. Gratitude (and a little reframing) helped me appreciate all the extra trips up and down the stairs, burning extra calories during this time of abundant eating!
Getting my gratitude list posted everyday during the month of November was challenging, but being grateful was not challenging at all.
If you took the challenge along with me, I encourage you to keep practicing. Take time each day to identify just three things you are grateful for and then watch as the goodness in your life grows.
With Love & Gratitude,