Yes. I did purposely hold off on writing about this topic until Thanksgiving week. What better time to talk about appreciation than the week we are supposed to be celebrating being thankful? I know that the world can seem like such a chaotic and divided place but in the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” It’s so easy to get stuck in our own darkness, but often times we are numb to the small things that bring us joy daily. Have you ever gotten sick, and in your misery vowed to never take for granted being able to breathe out of your nostrils ever again? Yet, we spend much of our life total blind to how blessed we are to not be sick like that. Forcing ourselves to recognize what we have to be thankful for can help us shift our perspectives and keep us moving forward even when we are at our lowest.
There are a number of ways you can practice Appreciation. For starters, you can do the exercise in the video above. Many people also have a daily gratitude journal. Each day they write a few things they were grateful for that day. I personally I am bad at keeping up with a journal daily, even though I’d like to be better because I think it would be fun/nice to look back on later in life. When I was a kid, Mama Summer (my stepmom aka bonus mom) would always ask us what our favorite part of our day was around the dinner table. I hated it as a kid because my mind would always go blank unless I had something really exciting to say that day. Now that I am older, I really appreciate those memories around the dinner table and recognize that this was our subtle way of practicing gratitude.
Brice and I like to do something similar. When we sit down for dinner, we tell each other one thing we are grateful for that day. It feels really nice to share that with each other, and can usually spark a really nice dinner conversation. Full disclaimer, we don’t remember to do this every day, but when we do it is a really nice way for us to feel closer to each other. It’s nice to have someone to keep you accountable in your gratitude practice, especially if you know this is something you both are doing for your personal growth. This doesn’t have to be a significant other or a family member. Maybe you have a friend that you don’t get to see very often that you can text each other something you are grateful for every day. Maybe you post it to your Twitter or Instagram story. Whatever works for you!
I know that this practice will not solve all your problems. I know there will still be bad days. The idea is that having a regular gratitude practice will help rewire your natural thought patterns to be more positive and to give you a tool to help you cope when things are rough. Maybe all you can think of to be thankful for that day is cheese. That is just fine. Cheese is awesome! That’s totally worth being grateful for! And fret not vegans and lactose-intolerant folk! You live in a time where DAIRY-FREE CHEESE exists! Whatever this thing is for you, remind yourself how awesome it is that it or they are in your life.
This week I would like to challenge you to tell one person in your life that you appreciate them and why. If possible, do this to their face. This is the perfect week to do it because it’s Thanksgiving! Not only will some of you be surrounded by lots of people to appreciate, but it’s also Thanksgiving! This is the literal purpose of the whole holiday! Have a great Thanksgiving week, and tell me something you are grateful for down in the comments.