It’s been a sometimes scary, sometimes disorienting, and totally unprecedented nine months for all of us.
No matter where you live, it’s not difficult to read or hear about the chaos, fear, and confusion that is going on in the world today.
As many of you know, Larry and I left the safety of New Zealand in early September to support our family in crises as well as attempt to be physically together with my 95-year-old mother who is dying alone in hospice care.
Many friends were shocked we would leave the safety and security of our home country and enter the U.S. amidst the rapidly growing reported numbers of COVID-19 cases. Yet, we never looked at it from the perspective of fear. Instead, we were grateful for the opportunity to support and be with those we love.
We made our choice not from fear and worry or because we should, but from love and gratitude and because we could.
As difficult as this year has been (and it’s not over yet), doubling down on gratitude is more important than ever.
Don’t just take my word for it. The Harvard Medical School reported,
“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
In the U.S., it’s the season for consciously giving thanks. Thanksgiving reminds us to pause and be grateful for the little and big things in our life.
Gratitude is a way for us to appreciate what we have instead of reaching for something in the future in the hopes it will make us happier or feeling unsatisfied until every material and physical need is met.
Although it may feel unnatural at first, feeling grateful gets stronger and easier with practice.
Below are a few simple ways to help you cultivate a grateful heart.
- Get into the habit of acknowledging your blessings in those lucid moments before drifting off to sleep and in the morning when you are just waking up.
- Do your version of “grace” before a meal, with yourself, your partner, or your family. When our kids were young we would go around the dinner table and share one thing we were grateful for from our day (You can do this with your kids when you say goodnight as well).
- A gratitude journal is a wonderful way for harnessing the energy of gratitude in a book. The key is to write and post pictures in this specific journal only when you are feeling grateful. Then, when you need a gratitude “boost”, you can open up the pages and allow the energy of gratitude to uplift you. It’s good medicine!
- Get in the habit of regularly calling or messaging a friend to simply acknowledge the beautiful things you see in them.
- Write and send a thank you note in the mail after receiving a gift or going to someone’s home for dinner. I’ll bet you love discovering a surprise note in the mail just like I do.
What are you grateful for? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.