I recently had the opportunity to speak with the IHC Sisterhood about Harvesting Gratitude.  I love having the opportunity to speak to groups, but I especially enjoy the conversations after.  These women did not disappoint!  I’d like to share some of the main points as well as the ideas they shared for ways to implement gratitude.

There are so many benefits of practicing gratitude: it’s free, it’s easy to access, anyone can do it anytime anywhere.  You can’t mess up being grateful for something. There are also numerous health benefits including increase happiness which decreases depression.  According to a study published in Applied Psychology in 2011 you can even sleep better!

So now that you know why it’s a good thing to “practice gratitude” how do you get started? I think the first step is simply being aware. Pay attention and look for things you are thankful for. The more you pay attention the more you will notice.  Consider setting aside five minutes in your day to think about what you are grateful for.  It often helps to write it down.  Maybe even consider a special gratitude journal.  I haven’t fully Marie Kondo’d my office space, so I have a lot of extra notebooks around.  So, get that notebook and pen, put it beside your bed and consider ending your day by writing down three things you are grateful for.   If that’s too much, Start with ONE thing you are grateful for: “I’m grateful that I’m starting to be aware of what I’m grateful for!”

Once you have started to notice and are able to write it down, consider sharing.  Say thank you to someone for something they have done.  Tell a loved one why you are grateful to have them in your life.  This is where the magic happens.  Watch to see what happens when you tell someone why you are grateful for them.  I promise you’ll learn something about them in return and your relationship will be stronger.  Consider sending a card to a friend, everyone loves snail mail!

These are great starting points for you personally, but as we head into the Thanksgiving Holiday here are some ideas for ways you can incorporate the whole family into the practice of gratitude:

Consider a gratitude jar where every member writes down one thing each day and put its into a shared jar.

Ask everyone at the dinner table to mention one thing they are grateful for.

Have cut out leaves and allow everyone to write down things they are grateful for, then tie them to a branch.

Look at our quick video about making a gratitude table cloth.

Ask kids to Interview grandparents and other family members about what they are grateful for and have them report back.

What other ideas do you have? There are no wrong answers, so might as well try.