Gratitude is beneficial to both the one giving and the one receiving. You can show gratitude to others by saying “please and thank you” and “yes (or no) ma’am (or sir).”
There are many creative ways to express gratitude. It can be as simple as getting up in the morning and acknowledging that you woke up — not everyone has that privilege!
Instead of getting mad at your significant other, show them gratitude. Make an effort to communicate more effectively instead of being critical or judgmental.
When you are having a hard day at work, take a break and remember some of the good days that you’ve had that month — don’t forget that it is only a bad day, not a bad life.
Research shows that individuals who express gratitude have a more positive outlook on life; better health; less stress; are more likely to forgive; are less lonely; are happier; sleep better; are more refreshed and have stronger relationships.
Instead of using a gratitude journal, I started using a gratitude jar. Having a gratitude jar reminds us of the feeling we felt when we were “in the moment.” It allows us to be more mindful and present.
To make a gratitude jar, find a Mason Jar, decorative vase, or fish bowl and start recording all of your happy memories and events throughout the year. Keep some decorative paper close so that you can jot these memories down and place them in the jar. When you are having a bad day, you can reach into your gratitude jar and remember all of the good times that you have had throughout the year.
Be creative when writing down what you are grateful for. Be specific when you reflect back on your memory so that you won’t forget any important details. If possible, be personal and include names when writing down your entry. Include blessings: spirituality, parents, kids, spouse, etc. Don’t forget life’s surprises: unexpected events, awards, visitors, etc.
Here are a few of my entries for 2013. I chose one from each month to share with you.
January: Thankful for my husband. Our anniversary is January 1 so he is the first person I think of when celebrating the New Year.
February: This year we celebrated Valentine’s Day at the Vue restaurant in Grayton Beach. It was absolutely beautiful. My husband Perry surprised me and my little girl with a dozen roses, balloons, candies, and presents. I am very grateful for having such a giving husband. He sure makes us feel special!
March: We had a wonderful time at Disney World for a week. We stayed at one of our timeshares and enjoyed the Parks and Arabian Nights. I am very grateful for having such a wonderful family and being able to take mini vacations throughout the year.
April: My daughter’s 9th birthday! We rented Brava Salon for a few hours where my daughter and ten of her closest friends got to have their hair, makeup, toes, and nails done. Then we had Nonie’s Ark come with all of her animals. After the party was over, we went to Marina Café for dinner. Afterwards, we went home and opened presents – my daughter started crying when she opened her new Android smartphone. What a memory this day was! It warms my heart to see my daughter’s grateful heart.
May: On Mother’s Day we went to Seaside for an art festival. My daughter played on the paddle skateboards and walked around the shops. Afterwards, we ate dinner at A Fish out of Water. What a beautiful day; feeling very loved.
June: School’s out; my favorite time of year. No more homework or studying for tests! We can stay up late, watch movies, picnics at the beach, swim at the pool, and have slumber parties in the living room. I feel very grateful that we are such a close family.
July: We went to Crab Island today and took our 3 Labrador retrievers: Roxy, my 12-year-old chocolate Lab, Gator, my 7-year-old blonde Lab, and Mr. Chomper, my 1-year-old black Lab. We packed lunch and spent the day swimming and boating. Afterward we went home, washed the dogs, and cooked out. I love summer. I feel very blessed to have weekends off to spend time with my family.
August: Back-to-school shopping! We spent the day at Destin Commons. We took Noelle to Justice, one of her favorite stores, so that she could pick out sparkly, glittery outfits. Afterward, we went to Bonefish for dinner. Today, I am thankful that I have a husband who likes to shop.
September: Labor Day is already here. This year we spent the day cooking out and spending time with my parents. I am very grateful that they live in my neighborhood.
October: We surprised Noelle with a trip to Disney World for having exceptional grades! We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Resort. We were able to see so many different animals roaming right outside of our balcony. We went trick or treating with Mickey Mouse at the Not So Spooky Halloween Party. Another evening we went to a pool party where we roasted s’mores on the campfire and played ping-pong by the pool. I am very thankful that we are able to give Noelle such wonderful memories.
November: I love Thanksgiving because I love to eat and I love to cook! We are spending Thanksgiving over at my Uncle Gary’s this year. We are all cooking casseroles to bring over to his house for our Thanksgiving feast. I thoroughly enjoy spending the holidays with my aunts, uncles, Mom, Dad, cousins, husband, and my little Noelle. I am very grateful for my health, my friends, and my family.