The Thanksgiving Trap: How to Show Gratitude 365 Days a Year

I will never apologize for being repetitive about this one key to a happy life.  

Being grateful in every circumstance and situation opens the doorway to peace, joy and success.  

Gratitude is a powerful force that not only multiplies the good things present in your experience, but conversely minimizes that which is undesirable.  

Gratitude is magic!

Thanksgiving is often touted as a time for people to become hyper aware of the great things that have happened over the course of the year.  Yet, in the midst of preparing big meals, managing stressful travel and finding the best deals of the year, the spirit of thankfulness can get lost in the sauce.

I have for many years been a proponent of taking the pressure off of Thanksgiving and evenly distributing gratitude to every day on the calendar.  

Here are my quick tips for giving thanks beyond Thanksgiving!

1. Begin the Thank You Challenge. Think of at least ten friends or family members you haven’t spoken to in the past three months.  Give them a call or write them a note expressing gratitude for something they did for you.  Let them know how important their act of kindness was.  Don’t tell them you’re doing a thank you challenge or encourage them to pay it forward.  Just let your kind words of appreciation resonate with them.  They already made their contribution to the good of the universe.  There’s no need for them to do more.

2. Create a gratitude journal.

Certainly, this is not a new idea.  Everyone from Oprah to Deepak Chopra has talked about the benefit of logging things for which you are grateful.  I’m sharing it again because I know it is a supremely effective way to inspire magnificent changes in your experience.  My journal has everything in it from sunshine to rain.  I’m grateful for the fine people who make my favorite sparkling water and the genius who invented fuzzy socks.  Everyone’s journal will be different and likely overloaded with good stuff.  

3. Start a gratitude map.

This is one of my favorite things to do.  Sometimes I feel challenged by a particular situation and wish it was different.  Instead of getting too far into a “whoa is me” session, I shift my focus to something in my life that I wouldn’t change for the world.  After I identify a completely amazing and wonderful thing, I think back to some of the challenges that lead up to the incredible thing manifesting.  Very quickly I am reminded that life’s challenges are the birthing place for its blessings.  

(Warning:  If you are feeling depressed about a situation, this activity is probably not a great place to start.  There’s no need to introduce past challenges into your thought process if you are overwhelmed by the current challenge.)

4. Get detailed.  

Instead of simply saying thank you when someone extends a kindness, let the person know what was special about the action.  Don’t just go into autopilot thank you mode.  Allow your thank yous to be genuine and descriptive.  Go to the customer review pages for your favorite restaurants and stores and really brag on your experiences there.  Let the staff know how amazing the customer service was and how it impacted your day.  If getting the “to go” cup of tea brightened your afternoon, say so.  Often people don’t know the impact of their decisions if you don’t tell them.

5. Give using love languages.

Gary Chapman wrote a book many years ago that I absolutely adore called “The Five Love Languages.”  In the book, he shares that we all process love in different ways – verbal affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts and quality time.  If you really want to be a gratitude master, check out the book and identify people’s love languages then express your appreciation by tapping into that love language.  For example, my primary love language is quality time.  If someone wanted to use that love language to show appreciation, it might come in the form of taking me to a movie or going for a walk with me.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you allow thankfulness to pour out of you every other day of the year.

Ultimately, YOU are the gift that keeps on giving.  Start giving more gratitude and I promise more things for which you can be grateful will appear.

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