world gone to hell? give thanks.
Has the pandemic got you down?
What about all the racial injustice and inequity?
How about the political climate?
How about climate change?
Stop. Before you spiral into all that negativity and despair, take a moment to give thanks.
You read that right: give thanks.
what have you got to be thankful for?
Start here: if you’re reading this, you at least have internet service and a device on which to access it.
Now think of 1–2 more things to be grateful for—no matter how small—and maybe even write them down.
Congratulations! You’re on your way to a gratitude practice!
Why start one?
Because it will make you healthier—in body, mind, and spirit!
People who express gratitude on a regular basis have better physical health, optimism, progress toward goals, well-being, and help others more.
~ R.A. Emmons + C.A. Crumpler
A gratitude practice is free and has no negative side effects—much better than supplements and medications, right?
starting a gratitude practice
Here are some ideas for how to start a gratitude practice and increase your overall well-being:
- Start your day off on a positive note by listing 3-5 things you’re grateful for right after you wake up, before you even get up: it can be as basic as having had a good night’s sleep or having a bed in which to sleep or a new day or the sun coming into the room….
- Take a moment to give thanks for the food you are preparing and/or eating: include the farmers who grew it, the earth, air, sun, and water that nourished it, the creatures who pollinated the plants, those who picked it, those who transported it, prepared it….
- End your day in gratitude by listing 3-5 things that happened that day for which you are thankful: time with family, meaningful work, a success at work or school….
And these are just a start: find a practice that works for you, and practice daily—you can start a journal (online or paper), type notes into your phone, or just make a mental note! It really is that easy.
Many people I’ve talked to recently have a sense that it’s wrong to be happy just now—it feels like fiddling while Rome burns.
That’s the kind of “either/or” binary thinking that got us into this mess to begin with: black/white, right/wrong, happy/sad.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not asking you to perform a spiritual bypass and blithely go about your business as if trouble doesn’t exist. I’m asking you to acknowledge both that the world can feel like a terrible place and that there is still good in it—and the more we celebrate that good, the more positive vibrations we’ll create.
Because I really do believe that good will prevail.
Heartbreak and hope are not mutually exclusive. We can be angry and sad and filled with longing for something we cannot have, and simultaneously we can be grateful for what we’ve got—aware, for reasons we’d never choose, of what really matters and what doesn’t.
This quote came from my daily dose of gratitude that lands in my email inbox from Gratefulness.org: if you want a jumpstart for a gratitude practice, start there!
And that is part of why I’m grateful: if we really think about it, the pandemic is that “reason we’d never choose” that is teaching us what really matters and what doesn’t.
make the connection
Don’t wait until November/Thanksgiving to acknowledge what and whom you’re grateful for: take a moment every day to give thanks—no matter how small the object of your gratitude feels.
I’ll start: I’m grateful that my husband has been home from Hong Kong for a few weeks and that we’re celebrating Thanksgiving early this year so he can partake in his favorite American holiday. Drop a comment below to let me know what you’re grateful for!
And if you’re trying to plan Thanksgiving in advance so it’s not a mad rush, you can get my recipe for cranberry orange relish and then get 20% off my Thanksgiving 101 e-book by using the coupon code HOLIDAY20 in the shop!