Thanksgiving was indeed different this year.
Thanksgiving Day 2020 is 48 hours in the dust. Is it already forgotten? Are you back to the 2020 thanks for nothin’ mantra? Or, are you riding the endorphins of a day devoted to gratitude?
I admit it was sad being without extended family. Yet, I didn’t mind the quaint celebration.
Full disclosure, being with just my immediate family this year made me realize that I spend little time with these people on a typical Thanksgiving day. The kids are usually running around with their cousins while the moms/aunts cook and catch up over a glass of wine in the kitchen and the dudes settle in on the couch to watch football.
Side note: The Detroit Lions play every Thanksgiving. Around here, football is as much a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey.
So, I made it a point to be grateful for just the four of us having this time together. There may literally (hopefully) never again be another Thanksgiving like this in our lifetime.
2020 has taken so much from us, but can we admit that, along the way, it’s also given us some gifts we never could have expected; even – dare I say – some things to be grateful for?
The Silver Lining
It’s awkward to have gratitude for something like a pandemic but there’s something to be said for finding the silver lining amidst difficult circumstances. In fact, there’s actual evidence that cultivating gratitude physically changes your brain and boosts happiness. And that’s something 2020 could certainly use more of!
What did Thanksgiving look like for you this year? Did you make space for gratitude? It’s a powerful practice and it shouldn’t be reserved for just one day.
Rather, gratitude should be thought of as a movement; for the power it wields is remarkable. Are you intentional about practicing gratitude daily? Much like drinking water, we do it and we know it’s good for us. But, is there really intention behind it? When we make gratitude a daily habit, the benefits are abundant.
Here are 5 simple ways to actualize the abundance of gratitude on a daily basis.
#1 Wake up grateful
Yes, it’s a choice. We all have bad days but when we start our day with gratitude we’re more likely to avoid those “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” days.
Here’s what to do: When your alarm goes off, say thank you. If you’re the praying type, it might look more like a prayer. If not, simply say the words “Thank you for this day!” That’s it. It’s that simple.
#2 Identify 3 things for which you’re grateful
Again, keep it super simple. Do not overthink it. Look around you, there are tons of things to choose from, pick 3. Here’s an example: coffee, sunshine, books. Boom, it should be that easy.
Don’t get caught up in feeling like you should be grateful for the big, glaring things: food, water, shelter or your partner, your kids and God. By all means, be grateful for those things, but challenge yourself to look beyond them to the very basic of things.
#3 Write it down
Some of you read that and thought, “I’m not doing that.”
Look, I’m not asking you to write a novel. Simply jot down: “I am thankful for…” and then the three things you already thought of in #2.
Why write it down? Because you’re more likely to remember it. Also, because when you are having a bad day, you can look back at it and maybe it will make you smile and turn your day around. Did you know it’s nearly impossible to be genuinely grateful and angry/scared/disappointed, etc. at the same time? Test it out for yourself.
#4 Say it out loud
When you are grateful to someone, say thank you. This is not a lesson from Miss Manners. It’s good for both parties (the giver and the receiver) when you show appreciation and it will go a long way for the emotional wellbeing of both of you.
Let it out! Do it often! Offer thanks for the little things – even the expected things. Thank your kids when they pick up their toys. They might be inclined to do it more often if they feel appreciated. This should resonate with moms who often do a thankless job. When someone in your family thanks you for making dinner or doing their laundry, it makes the task less daunting. And, every bit of “less daunting” helps!
#5 Be grateful for the yuck
Ugh. This one’s hard. Let me rephrase it… On any given day, we come up against “opportunities.” We’ll define these moments as life experiences that don’t go our way.
The goal here is to learn from them. If we can catch ourselves in those moments and see that silver lining, we will find we get over things much quicker. Then, when we take it to the next step and make the choice to feel grateful for these “opportunities,” that’s when we grow.
Moments like those define who we are when we’re living our best life!
Can you be mindful of these 5 things on a daily basis? Start with the first one then gradually work the rest of them into your life. Do it with your family! It’s bound to lead to abundant happiness!
Do you have a daily gratitude practice? Share it in the comments!
We’re doing this work in The Grace Experiment this week and we invite you to join us. Meet us here, in our private group on Facebook and get in conversation with other moms. We share our struggles and our wins and lift each other up. Will you join us?
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