5 Ways to Turn Gratitude into JOY this Thanksgiving
While reflecting on last year’s Thanksgiving, I’m drawn to share some of the ways we can practice mindful gratitude while bringing more JOY into our lives. This time of year is the perfect time to begin a new routine of practicing simple techniques which allow our gratitude to flourish into a wildfire of JOY that surrounds us each and every day, making our lives brighter and the lives brighter to those around us.
Life can be so fast-paced at times it’s hard to remember to pay attention to all the positive and influential ways life impacts us. One positive that came out of the pandemic was how it made some of us stop and look at our practices around being thankful and grateful for those things we had otherwise overlooked. If you haven’t yet added mindful thankfulness into your routine, I’d like to share these five ways to keep your heart and mental health engaged with what truly matters — turning gratefulness into an abundance of JOY in your life.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
– AMY COLLETTE
1. DAILY MINDFULNESS OF 5 THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR
First thing in the morning, think of 5 things that you are grateful for. Reflecting on these special things of gratitude can change your whole perspective on your day when you do this continuously.
Sometimes it’s as simple as being grateful for your cup of coffee, grateful your hands move and your legs walk, you can breathe fresh air, you have a bed you slept in with a roof over your head, grateful for the green grass or something that inspires you in nature. The more you can think of it viscerally in your body, the more that the gratitude changes you at the cellular level and rewires your mental health.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
– BRENE BROWN
2. KEEP A GRATITUDE FOR JOY JOURNAL
For many of us, when we put our thoughts on paper, they become more real. We can re-read feelings and thoughts that would otherwise get overwritten by our chaos in our minds through our busy days. Also, sometimes it’s easy to take for granted all the blessing that we have and reading and reflecting on those reminds us not to take them for granted.
For me, going back and forth to Uganda is always so eye-opening to me. All the physical things I have that others do not, that I may otherwise take for granted – a home, car, resources, bed, running water, organic food, etc. And then other things like emotional spiritual tools I use daily that help me handle the obstacles of life. When I journal about these feelings of gratefulness as I’m feeling them, it helps me to re-read and regain that sense of thankfulness over and over as time relentlessly moves on.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
– ECKHARD TOLLE
3. GIVE GRATITUDE TO YOUR CHALLENGES
Gratitude isn’t only about being thankful for positive experiences, it’s also about looking above the challenging obstacles that are influencing us to see the bigger picture in life so we can pivot, do life differently, and rise above.
For example, a few weeks ago I had a really challenging day with confrontational leaders in my work. However, I was so proud of myself how I stayed centered, grounded and used my mindfulness to allow myself not to be derailed emotionally by that. In turn, it turned into a good day even though it was a hard day.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
4. INDULGE IN PEOPLE AND THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR
Express your gratitude to those you care about. If you email, call, write, make time for the people you care about in your life and express to them how grateful you are for them in your lives, studies show that it increases happiness in both of your lives. This is true for my philosophy of how JOY is contagious!
You improve your thankfulness and build up those feelings of gratitude by doing things you love – being a physical part of those things you are grateful for. Exercise, go at the ocean, camp and be in nature, go for a walk or a hike, visit your friends or family, dine at your favorite restaurant, you name it! Surround yourself in those things that bring you JOY, and as you do these things, make sure to take note how grateful you are for your experiences.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
– THORNTON WILDER
5. BE OF SERVICE TO OTHERS
Finally, the real key to being happy and grateful is to give back to others. The more you give… the more you get to keep in joy and happiness. Studies show that volunteering or being of service increases our own well being and the ability to have, show, and share more gratitude.
I am more grateful for the simple things in life now than ever before. My morning tea, the view over my back deck, my amazing bed I get to sleep in, my friends who I can talk about anything with and be my whole self with, my extraordinary partner I get to laugh with… I’m grateful for my work I do in the corporate world and with OneMama. Being of service brings so much JOY to my heart and mind… I’m so grateful I found that part of myself. I’m grateful for the use of my body; to be able to walk and run. Grateful I can sing and play and swim in the ocean. I’m mostly grateful I can breathe in the sunlight of the spirit… and smile. 🙂
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
– DAVID STEINDL-RAST
Sending all my gratitude to my JOY Warrior friends and OneMama family.
Love and light,