November is always a reflective month for me. Everyone seems to practice gratitude and share what they’re thankful for throughout the month – it’s just that season.
Happify Daily states “People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.”
When things are really tough, sometimes it’s good to really stop and be grateful for what you have and the blessings in your life and to give back. The one thing I’m struggling with is teaching little man to practice gratitude when, clearly, he’s still learning his peas and thank yous regularly without prompting.
Here are the ten ways I’m practicing gratitude this month (and every month because really gratitude should be a year-round thing not just a November thing) and how I’m encouraging little man to practice gratitude as a little person 🙂
I’ve been following the gratitude prompts on The Mighty this month and it’s really helped me refocus on all the blessings in my life. I’m a day or two behind but it’s really helpful to me to write things down and reflect.
- Smile more often.
Seriously, just smile. Forget a reason for it. Just try to smile and smile at others. It may seem creepy but I promise, it’ll change your mood and brighten up at least one person’s day.
- Practice random acts of kindness.
A couple Christmas’s ago, my former company gave us all $50 to give back. We were traveling on Christmas, but on Christmas Eve, I paid for a random person’s lunch behind me in line at the drive-thru while Little Man and I ran errands, and then we paid for lunch for some pilots at the airport who were away from their families on Christmas Day and thanked them for their work as we traveled to CT. I still like to pay for people behind me every so often in drive-thru lines, and people have done it to me, it’s just a nice way to brighten someone’s day unexpectedly.
We’ve started looking for ways to get Little Man into volunteering – hubs and I are both active in our community, me through Junior League and Hubs through the Knights of Columbus, and really value giving back. Whether it’s serving meals at a soup kitchen, or donating toys to kids at Christmas, little man is starting to learn that we give back to those who need a little more help.
- Commit to one day per week of not complaining.
I complain a lot sometimes, it’s just those wahhhhh-mbulance ruts that we all get into. Whether it’s about my commute, how tired I am, how little money we have, whatever it is – but there are always people that have it worse. There are people without cars who commute to Baltimore via bus for upwards of Two hours just to put food on their family’s table. People who don’t have jobs, and people without warm beds to sleep in. Perspective people.
Take your gratitude list, and meditate on it. Stop for five minutes and just slow your mind down. Think about the things in your life that are going well, all the blessings you have. I like the Calm app to meditate, but there are lots of other options out there too if you need a little meditation guidance.
- Call a friend or family member to say you love them.
I’m terrible at staying in touch with family, with friends. But call someone just because and thank them for being in your life.
- Share your gratitude.
Share on social media, join a gratitude challenge (I’m sure there are many) and share every day something that you’re thankful for. ‘Tis the season but seriously, these can be done at any time.
- Thank your public servants.
I’m pretty sure police officers, fire department members and EMT’s don’t get enough thanks for their hard work. Thank your child’s teachers for their work, teachers work long hours – long past the 8-3 that they’re in the classrooms, saying a simple thank you for everything they do, goes a long ways.
- Stay away from negative media and replace it with inspiring media.
Hubs and I watch the NBC Nightly News every night – it’s our thing. But one thing I love about it is the inspiring stories they have as the last segment “Inspiring America.” There is so much negativity and Facebook is a vacuum of news – positive and negative. Try for a week to turn the negativity off and each day watch one video or read a story of something positive and inspiring. It goes a long way to remind you of everything we have to be grateful for.
I’ll share some of my journal entries throughout the month over on my Facebook Page.