The practice of gratitude

Thanksgiving is this week. In fact, by the time you read this it will already be over. Since my boyfriend and I are trying to spend time with both families, I will have one more Thanksgiving after this is published which extends the theme for me for the week. The theme for everyone right now is being thankful and living through an attitude of gratitude, but what I need to acknowledge here is the practice- something we should be carrying throughout the year, not just for the holidays.

I mention Brene Brown often as her writings resonate with me in a way that so few authors do. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, she discusses this in greater detail, but for these intents and purposes I’ll keep it short…

It’s not enough to have the attitude if you don’t put it into practice, and make no mistake, gratitude is a practice. It is so easy to fall into the trap of everyday crap and let it bring you down, even to the point where you lose sight of all the amazing things that are in your life. I am definitely not immune to this, and it tends to happen most when I’ve stopped practicing gratitude.

To practice gratitude is to make it a priority and consistently remind yourself of all that is right. It’s making yourself stop and focus on individual aspects of your existence that bring you joy or that you can be thankful for. Some times are harder than others to locate those things, and in those cases I say start small.

I’m grateful that I can see (even if not perfectly).

I’m grateful that I can read.

I’m grateful to have a job.

I’m grateful I have clothes to wear.

They may seem like silly things, but they are valid and honest, and it’s a place to start when others seem too far out of reach. At the very least, I am practicing gratitude and making a conscious effort to feel good. Giving thanks requires awareness and it forces you to seek out the positive, putting the stress, frustration, sadness, etc. aside for a minute.  It’s you telling yourself that you are worth more, and giving yourself a chance to live at a higher vibration. It’s a gift you can give yourself any time you want or need.

I hope that as you read this, you are able to look back on the holiday with a smile- that you were given time with loved ones, a good meal, a solid nap, and plenty of memories to put in your gratitude bank to pull from when needed. As we all move forward to the next holiday, I hope we can remain at that vibration and make life even just a little bit better for ourselves and those around us.

Say “thank you” at every opportunity for this life we’ve been given, and the never-ending chances we have to change and improve.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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