When it comes to “giving thanks,” we often associate that action with a particular time of year, but what if we took more time to be grateful for the people and the things in our lives on a daily basis instead of just once a year? That’s the thought that provoked me to think about the ways in which I show my appreciation for others, the way I intentionally take time to recognize the simple pleasures in life. More often than not, we may find ourselves lost in the sea of the everyday tasks. We move from one thing to the next, we get things done, we go through the motions, but sometimes we get so caught up in what isn’t going right, what we don’t have, or what could be different, that we may forget there is so much to be thankful for at the end of the day.
Finding the time to be grateful almost seemed a like another task to add to my list. How do I show it? When do I do it? I soon realized that it isn’t really another thing to add to a “to do” list, it’s a way of life that inspires and energizes you to push through even the most stressful days. Making the time for gratitude wasn’t a chore, but rather a choice. I felt happier when I took the time to write personal thank you cards or just recall memories that make me happy. It puts everything into perspective when you think about how much you really do have in your life.
These are some methods that I have found to be great ways of incorporating “gratitude” into everyday life.
My sister bought me a gratitude journal for my birthday, and I have used it ever since! It allows me to capture the small wins each day that I’m grateful for. This is a tool that helped me realize that even on the most stressful days, I always had something to be grateful for. You can easily just designate a blank notebook as a gratitude journal, or even include a section in your planner or through an app and begin to collect thoughts from each day. I have found that this a great exercise to do as part of a nightly routine before bed. You end the day on a positive note and sometimes can feel inspired going into the next day.
Thank You Cards
I love collecting thank you cards! I have an enormous collection of all different designs. One of my favorite things to do is hand write a thank you card for someone that has had a positive impact in my life and the lives of others. I take the time to make it personal because it makes it just that much more special for the person receiving it. I know every time I receive a thank you card it warms my heart. Something so simple yet so profound. You can also write letters and send them in the mail. In an age where technology rules our forms of communication, getting something in the mail can be quite exciting!
In addition to my gratitude journal, I wanted to have a way to share some of my moments of gratitude with family and friends. I decided to launch my blog The Simply Thankful Blog to do just that. In addition to me sharing my stories, my hope is to have others share their stories as well. This is not something I contribute to every day like my journal, but it’s a public display of some of things I find myself being incredibly thankful for.
Positive Text Messages
This might sound super cheesy, but sometimes gratitude can just come in the form of a positive text message to someone. This is similar to the idea of the personalized thank you card, but more so for those moments when you may just have a few minutes to send out a quick text. One year for Mother’s Day, instead of sending out a generic “Happy Mother’s Day” message, I took the time and personally sent each friend who is a mother a text message that had details personalized to them. In the past when I had sent generic messages, I maybe heard back from one or two individuals, but the year I sent personalized texts, I got a response back from everyone!
Don’t just reserve the moment of “thanks” for the fall season – find ways of being grateful year-round and see the impact it has in your life. As a collegiate officer in my chapter, I can remember how incredible it felt when a sister would thank me for the work I had done. It meant everything to me, especially on the days when you have to make some really tough decisions. Don’t wait! Give thanks today!