“It’s not where you go, it’s who you meet along the way.” –Wizard of Oz
Gratitude has been getting heightened attention for the past several years and can be described as expressing an appreciation for what we have, rather than expressing dissatisfaction for what we don’t have. Research tells us that practicing the expression of gratitude may deepen our feelings of satisfaction with what we have, however small those things may be. As you can imagine, it is believed that expressing gratitude could have infinite benefits such as a greater degree of positive energy and positive emotions.
We're just coming out of National Gratitude Month of November. In my family, we have a Thanksgiving Day tradition of expressing our gratitude for each other and for certain experiences we have encountered. We have a bowl in the center of the table and I provide slips of paper and various markers, so we can capture and share our thoughts. We write down gratitude messages throughout the day, and before we eat our Thanksgiving meal, we take turns sharing the messages in the bowl. This tradition reminds us of how much we have to be grateful for in our lives.
All of us have moments of frustration and find ourselves complaining. Expressing gratitude may be difficult during these times; let those moments go. It may help if you try to notice when you are experiencing feelings of frustration and reframe your thoughts to find something to feel grateful for in your situation. Write them down as a reminder!
In the coming weeks of the holiday season, many of you may be among friends and family members who challenge you, the ones who drive you crazy, the ones you love, and the ones who support you. Or you may be alone.
Whatever your situation may be, here are some simple ways to express gratitude:
Share a specific example of something someone did for you.
Write a handwritten thank you note.
Thank someone who helped you see things from a different perspective.
Be thankful for a quiet moment with a cup of tea.
Reflect on the little things.
Expressing gratitude is a gift that I hope each of us will consider giving not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year.
We encounter many amazing people and experiences in our life, what step will you take today to show your appreciation for what you have in your life?
I wish you days of gratitude, curiosity and compassion.