This year is certainly a year for the books. It’s been one that has been filled with uncertainty and fear. And yet, it’s up to us whether or not that is how we remember it.
This Thanksgiving I challenge you to make it a season of focusing on thankfulness instead of dwelling on the negative. We all have the power to change our mindset, to shift our perspective from one of frustration or anxiety to positivity and hope.
In my experience, the people who are the most uplifting are those who have cultivated a habit of gratitude. They are the people who, even in the most difficult circumstances, always find reasons to be thankful. We all know those people, but what is their secret? How do they maintain this positive outlook?
This habit or mindset of gratitude didn’t just happen overnight. No habit does. It is something that takes intentionality and practice. And it is vital to living a well-balanced life. Research shows us that gratitude helps people live longer and healthier lives.
So, this week as we stop to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to leave you with four gratitude challenges to help cultivate thankfulness.
- Recognize those around us. In our fast-paced world, we move from one project to the next without stopping to appreciate what was accomplished. Set aside ten minutes this week to let someone around you know just how much you appreciate them. I challenge you to do something to show your gratitude. Bring your colleague who helped you on a big project, a coffee tomorrow morning. Or if your spouse went out of their way to do something for you, leave them a note of thanks. These simple, tangible acts of gratitude do not take much time, but they yield benefits for both you and the recipient.
- Acknowledge the growth challenges can bring. We have all faced new challenges and obstacles this year. I challenge you to write down at least one obstacle you have faced and what positive experience came from it. This will help to remind you of the strength you had to work through it and inspire gratitude for who and what helped you along the way. By focusing on the positive rather than the negative, you will find it easier to develop a mindset of gratitude despite the circumstances outside of your control.
- Say thank you for the little things. Many times we forget to say thank you to those who consistently keep up with and manage all of the daily tasks required for our work to be done or for our household to run smoothly. Pick a time each day where you have a few free moments to text or email those people a quick thank you. This can be an easy way to develop a habit of gratitude if you take time to do it daily.
- Set aside time for your own personal reflection. Spend at least ten minutes reflecting on the reasons you have to be grateful. Take the time to make a list. It’s incredible how the simple act of writing down what you have to be thankful for can change your attitude and perspective. This mindset of gratitude is compelling. When you take the time to focus on it within yourself you will often find others inspired by it as well.
I have found that the more I recognize the good, the happier I am. I think you’ll find it does the same for you.