Giving thanks at Thanksgiving is nice and all but do you know the benefits of giving thanks every day? Have you tried it? Do you want greater peace, contentment, relationships, and more happiness? I think we can all safely say YES. Giving thanks every day is one way to do this. It’s not necessarily a spiritual thing or a religious thing. It’s just being thankful and appreciative of our lives and every aspect of them.
This may sound weird but at the end of my shower every day, I give thanks. Yes, the water is running and I know that’s not very environmental but for now, it works. Here is what I say: “Thank you for the gift of today. Thank you for the gift of yesterday. Thank you for the gift of tomorrow. Thank you for keeping me and my family safe, happy, healthy, protected, strong, and abundant. [Then I add in specific intentions into my giving thanks which might be “Thanks for sending light, love, and energy to my son today so he has a great baseball game” or “Thanks for sending love, light, and healing to my neighbor who is experiencing cancer”] Then I end with “Thank you for this life. Thank you for my family. Thank you for the love I experience every day. I am so blessed to be here at this time.” And if you wondering who I am giving thanks to, it’s to the Universe. But you can thank whomever you like.
That is my daily ritual of giving thanks. You may have your own. Maybe you like to write. I found a great journal for this that you might like to try (Buddha Doodles Gratitude Journal: Shining Your Light by Molly Hahn). Then you have a physical reminder to prod you into giving thanks. Leave it by your bedside and jot a few things down before you go to bed. It will really give you restful sleep and good dreams. I know because as I’m closing my eyes, I think about what I’m grateful for (no matter what kind of day I had). You know it’s been not a great day when all I can give thanks for is the cozy bed, safe neighborhood, and the food in my belly but take a look at that list of three things I just mentioned. There are huge amounts of people in the world who can’t give thanks for those three simple things.
That reminds me of all that I am truly thankful for and that can only make me content and happy. I can take showers, wash my hands, keep food from spoiling in my refrigerator, buy whatever food products or clothes or tools I want if I have the money, and I can find out anything I want on the internet. I have a phone. I have a house. My family and I are healthy and safe. The list goes on and on. How can I not find something to be thankful for in a daily journal?
One other way I use gratitude is as a tool to shift me out of a “mood.” I can get cranky. I can get angry. I can get sad. But my secret is to use gratitude to allow me to shift out of that quickly and shift back into the “happy zone.” If I can start listing all the things in my head that I am grateful for, I find that I can no longer stay stuck in anger, sadness, or crankiness. I have to shift if I really feel into what I’m thankful for. Just start listing things in your head and shift your thinking. Once you get to number 20, things should have shifted for you. If not, keep going.
Think of gratitude as one of your tools in the tool belt of being human and happy and use it as needed. How will you give thanks today?