It’s November, the month of Thanksgiving and suddenly everywhere we look we are reminded to be grateful, but how exactly can we express our gratitude, not just until the tofurkey leftovers are gone, but all year round?
Here are some ideas:
1. Go to the store and buy the prettiest set of Thank You notes you can find. Don’t forget to get some stamps too. Fill them out. Send them.
2. Give everyone you connect with a compliment. Compliments are really expressions of gratitude. When we say “I love your new haircut” in a sense, what we’re really saying is “Thanks for bringing some more beauty into the world.”
3. Say grace. Most people are uncomfortable with saying grace before meals but you don’t have to be a religious fanatic to be thankful for your food, for the means to buy it and make it and for the farmers who grew it.
4. Donate. When we can give things away we are expressing our gratitude to the Universe that we recognize that we already have enough.
5. Volunteer. When we are given so much in life, we must give back. Returning the favor is a way of demonstrating that we acknowledge our own abundance.
6. Keep a gratitude journal. Every evening write down a few things you were thankful for that day.
7. Be grateful on social media. I have a friend who makes her daily Facebook status a list of three things for which she is thankful each and every day. Her statuses are such a positive reminder and her friends look forward to them.
8. Be direct. Go ahead and tell people you are thankful for them! Don’t worry, you won’t sound weird.
9. Thank others for what they do, not just for material gifts.
10. When someone compliments you, accept it with a smile and a “thank you.” Don’t try to argue with a compliment or convince someone that you don’t deserve it.
11. Never refuse a gift. Be open and gracious about receiving. We must allow others the opportunity to give as well.
12. When you go out to eat, let the manager know that your server did a great job and that the chef cooked your meal to perfection.
13. Fill out comment cards at businesses and let them know their employees did a good job or that you like their product or service.
14. Incorporate gratitude into your exercise routine. When I practice yoga, I’ve created a habit of mentally saying “thank you” to the Universe each time the teacher guides us to swan dive into a forward fold.
15. Remind yourself to be grateful. Frame a favorite quote about gratitude and keep it somewhere where you can see if often.
16. Use positive affirmations. Each morning when you awake or whenever you meditate repeat something to the effect of: “My life is filled with joy and abundance and I am deeply grateful for all that I have.”
17. Make a gratitude board. Most people are familiar with vision boards and we make them to attract the things we want. Instead, how about making a big, gorgeous collage of all the things you already have and love as a way of honoring your present bounty?
18. Pray. Too often during prayer we focus on lack, asking for what we think we need. It’s ok to ask the Universe for things, but we also need to say thanks for what we’ve been given.
19. Remember to thank yourself. Thank your body for getting you around, for creating children or not, for laughing, for feeling good or whatever it does for you. Thank yourself for your hard work, your efforts and your talents. Thank yourself for your unique spirit and its contribution to the world, no matter how small you may believe it is.
20. Practice mindfulness to be grateful. Make a specific point out of constantly looking for things to be grateful for. I promise you will find them.
author, Victoria Fedder