Cultivating a Sense of Gratitude

As Thanksgiving approaches us, it reminds me of the concept of gratitude. So much of our experience is focused on the stressors of our lives and how it impacts our daily functioning. A holiday of thanksgiving allows the opportunity to embrace what we are grateful for and shifts our thinking to the blessings that we have received.

Whether your Thanksgiving involves family or friends, or whether your gathering is large or small give yourself some space to reflect on the various things that you appreciate and practice being grateful. Over the last few years you have probably heard a lot about practicing gratitude through the use of gratitude lists and journals, which reflects our progress in focusing on things that are positive in our lives.

If you haven’t already adopted a practice of engaging in an activity of being grateful (I.e., gratitude list or gratitude journal) consider it now, especially in this season’s theme of thanksgiving. Acknowledging what you are thankful for doesn’t ignore or minimize the stressors and problems you are experiencing. Acknowledgement of both blessings and stressors creates the authentic story of our lives. It symbolizes our true existence which includes both positive and negative components. To focus only on one component of your life results in a delusional sense of living.

Challenge yourself to practice the activity of being grateful after Thanksgiving passes. Commit now to engaging in acknowledging in what you are grateful for all throughout the year. Once you create the habit of being grateful you will also notice the improvement in your mood and approach to life. You will be left with the gift of recognizing the many blessings that you have in your life.