It’s November (already???), the time of year when we pile additional responsibilities on top of our already-busy schedules. Have you caught yourself saying “I’m in survival mode?” Most of us have. In that state, it is so easy to overlook the small joys and successes that happen every day. Instead of acknowledging the good things, we get caught up in hosting parties, decorating, shopping and the year-end craze, letting these activities control our happiness and self-worth. Hope and joy are replaced by overwhelm and frustration, and we reach the end of the year wishing we had done things differently.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “live with an attitude of gratitude” many times.
As old-fashioned as it seems, gratitude is vital to having a healthy mind, body and spirit. You have so much to be thankful for! Just think of all the things you take for granted every day–walking, breathing, sunshine, rain, the list goes on and on.
Then there are the blessings of family and friends, your home, your pets, even your phone and computer (though they are sometimes more of a curse) and the little “bright spots” in every day. There is always something to be thankful for, even in the worst of times.
Remember also to celebrate your own unique gifts and skills. What have you done in life that have made a positive impact on others? What do you really love about yourself? Too often, we slip into comparison mode, thinking that others are so much more gifted and have life so much easier. It is very important to celebrate the beautiful masterpiece that God created in you, with the colors and textures that make you unique and special. Be joyful for who YOU are, and love yourself unconditionally, just as you do your best friend.
Here are a few ways to practice gratitude and feed your soul.
- Gratitude walk—Go for a walk and take a journal along. Stop and acknowledge the things you are grateful for along the way, both verbally and in writing. Breathe in your surroundings, and celebrate the goodness all around.
- Gratitude journal—Keep a special journal and write at least one thing special about every day. If you don’t think anything particularly good happened, make a note of those little things that you take for granted. There is always something to treasure in every day!
- Gratitude jar—Get a large jar and spend a little time decorating it. Yes, it’s okay to take time off for a little fun! (If you really want to get creative, click here for cute ideas from Pinterest) When something good happens, write it on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. Include big celebrations and little “God winks.” Whenever you are down and think about throwing in the towel, pour out those pieces of paper and let them remind you of how much you have to be thankful for. They will be your “spirit fuel” to keep going!
I have a beautiful white box in my office where I keep my gratitude notes. I try to put at least one in there every day, and many days I have several. This week, I was able to add a note of gratitude for my newest grandchild, James IV “Jet,” who was born a month early, a tiny little guy who will grow up to be a strong warrior for God. Talk about being grateful! Jet is our second NICU grandbaby, and once again I have hit the pause button to soak in the goodness of life. My gratitude box will be overflowing soon, as a vivid picture of how abundant my blessings are every day. May I always live with this attitude of gratitude, no matter what each day brings.
What are you grateful for today?