It’s November, a month of thanksgiving and the perfect time to talk about what it means to have a gratitude practice.
A gratitude practice is simply a regular habit of celebrating what you’re thankful for. Let’s get this out right up front: YES, we have to practice gratitude. Most people default to cynicism and negativity, and pointing out what’s wrong with everything. Being grateful means focusing on the gift of each moment and on what is going right. Here are some thoughts for
when you want to begin a gratitude practice.
Keeping a gratitude journal will change your life.
Write one thing every day. Write three. Write every Friday. Pick up your journal whenever you feel like it.
A gratitude journal is really the best diary.
I love looking back over mine from years ago and remembering the first time I baked chocolate chip muffins or when my son was just starting to talk or when my hubby surprised me with flowers.
I just use a lined journal and keep it next to my bed. You can date each entry and use bullet points or number each one. Find what feels right.
When you’re feeling anxious, get into a place of gratitude.
This was something my husband taught me when I was battling anxiety.
When I’d feel my heart rate increase, my hands would get sweaty and I’d start to feel shaky, he’d say, “Go get into a place of gratitude.”
That meant go somewhere quiet, close my eyes and start listing what I was thankful for.
It might have started with…
- being alive
- having a roof over my head
- indoor plumbing
- clothes on my back
- food in the pantry
and then would become…
- the honor of raising my boys
- a wise husband
- a church family
- being an American
and depending on how much time it took, sometimes evolved into…
- the lavender growing on the porch
- a cozy bed
- the text from my best friend
- fuzzy socks
- footie pajamas on my six month old
- a fresh start tomorrow
and eventually I’d notice my heart had slowed down, I was breathing more easily and I was smiling.
A gratitude practice helps us live in the moment.
Little has been more rewarding in my life than learning to live in the moment.
It’s a cute little saying that’s thrown around but for me, it means not worrying about the future or obsessing about the details. It’s allowing yourself to fully live in the now. I’m not living in the moment if I’m thinking about what someone else is thinking about me or I’m constantly checking my watch or I’m planning my response in a conversation. It’s focusing on everything that moment in time has to offer.
It’s acknowledging that you have everything you need in this very moment.
In fact, this moment is all you have.
If you’ve never made an effort to have a gratitude practice, I hope you will. Tell me know how it’s going and what you are grateful for today! I’d love to know.
30-minute Bible study on gratitude available as a PDF download here. Written by yours truly!