The Joy of Gratitude

“Gratitude” has become a bit of a buzzword these days, and with good reason: Gratitude feels good.

It has been scientifically proven that gratitude can improve self-esteem, increase mental strength, and even help you sleep better. Moreover, showing appreciation improves relationships and promotes harmony within families and even communities.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” -- William Arthur Ward

If you’re not in the habit of being intentional about feeling or expressing gratitude, take heart -- it’s easy! As you immerse yourself in Thanksgiving preparations this year, remember to take some time to be present and really notice everyday things that surround us and give us pleasure, like …

The amazing taste of a hot caramel latte at your desk first thing in the morning … The sound of leaves crunching under your feet as you walk outdoors on a crisp fall day …The surprise of a stranger holding a door open for you with a smile …

Simple joys.

How else can you cultivate gratitude? You could start keeping a daily gratitude journal to help develop a gratitude mindset. Take a few moments first thing in the morning, or last thing at night to jot down at least three things you’re grateful for. For best results, don’t say the same things every day -- really pay attention to what’s going on around you and soon you’ll be struggling to limit yourself to only three things!

You could also get the family involved by having a “gratitude jar” at home. Everyone contributes by filling the jar with notes on what they’re grateful for as the mood strikes. The notes can be anonymous or even color-coded for each family member and read when the jar gets full or on a special occasion.

We all have so much to be thankful for all year round. It may take some time to develop the “attitude of gratitude” on a consistent basis, but the benefits are enormous.