How do you practice being thankful? For many of us, “practice” is the operative word; it’s not something that comes naturally. As we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some ways to capture those sometimes fleeting moments of thankfulness and focus on our many blessings.
1. Practice thankfulness every day. It can be as simple as asking everyone at the dinner table to name something they’re thankful for that day. This works even when the “dinner table” is the car on the way to a game/rehearsal/class/practice/etc. It also works when you dine alone; ask yourself the question and don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer. It will help you get in the habit of noticing good things throughout your day.
2. Keep a thankfulness journal or calendar. Take your practice of thankfulness one step further and every day write down something you’re grateful for. No fair repeating yourself! Some days it will be easy, others it may be a stretch, but make the effort. It will be worth it when you read back over all the things you have to appreciate.
3. Set up a thankful tree. Every November BELONG Staffer Leslie sets out a wire tree, blank tags, and markers. All month long friends and family are invited to write something they’re thankful for on a tag and hang it on the tree. FYI, you can find this kind of tree in many stores; they’re most often used to display small Christmas ornaments.
4. Tuck your blessings in a box. Don’t have a convenient tree? Write down your reasons to be thankful and place them in a box or jar. You can do this all month or all year: anytime something inspires gratitude, write it on a slip of paper and tuck it away. At Thanksgiving—or New Year’s Eve, or your birthday, or any day you choose—pull out each slip and review all the reasons you were thankful over the last year. You’ll be amazed at the things you forgot.
5. Create a thanksgiving scrapbook. Many families have everyone share something they’re thankful for as part of the Thanksgiving celebration. Take that to another level by taking photos—either a group shot or individual pics—and saving photos and “thankfulnesses” in a scrapbook. Each year you can bring out the scrapbook for a review and add a new crop of photos and comments. It will be fun to see how everyone’s appearance and remarks change over the years and as someday you’ll be thankful you captured the memories.
Now BELONGers, we know you have additional ideas to share. Don’t keep them to yourself! Tell us how you capture thankfulness in the comments below.