Thanksgiving is a special time of year when we celebrate our family and friends and the lives we’ve created. It’s a time to pause and appreciate everything we have around us. On Thanksgiving our table will be filled with delicious food and we’ll ask everyone what they’re thankful for this year. As we listen and share with others it fills our hearts with peace and joy.
But what about the rest of the year? Are you reminding yourself what you’re grateful for? We all acknowledge that this is a wonderful practice, but it’s so easy to get caught up in our busy lives and forget the importance of gratitude. How can we keep this top of mind?
Here are my 3 favorite ways to remain grateful throughout the year.
1. Gratitude Journal
I have a small journal on my bedside table and every night I write down 3 things that day that I’m grateful for. Some days this is easier than others. When I have a tough day it’s easier for me to look at the big picture. I’ll appreciate that I have a car, a house, and food in my home. I’ll appreciate that the sun rose, and I was able to get out of bed. This is also a fun thing to do with your family. It's an excellent way to start conversations and connect with the people you love the most. But the biggest benefit from my gratitude journal is that I'm constantly looking for things to appreciate in my life.
In this day and age with all the different technology to communicate through, letters have become a thing of the past. Letters are a personal way to communicate how much you appreciate your family and friends. It shows that you’re willing to put in the time and effort for the people you care about. I make sure that each of my family member gets a heart-felt birthday card. When I’m on vacation I send friends and family post cards. There is just something about getting mail that makes you feel special and appreciated.
Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community. So many people are struggling and anything that helps ease their suffering is often more helpful than we know. Volunteering not only helps others, but it always makes me feel good to give what I can, and it reminds me that I have a lot of things in my life to be grateful for. There are lots of wonderful places to volunteer and if you don’t have the time, consider giving a donation. I prefer to volunteer at local organizations. They often seem to need the most help and are the most underfunded.