November is National Gratitude Month! Fitting, since Thanksgiving falls at the end of the month. What better way to celebrate the holiday, than intentionally integrating gratitude practices in your day-to-day? Rather than making Thanksgiving a single day of increased gratitude, why not let it become the culmination and ending celebration of a monthly observance?
Before jumping into simple ways to show gratitude, let's begin with an understanding of the term's definition. Gratitude is "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness." In other words, it is an active process of acknowledging goodness and recognizing its source. Gratitude is an act that must be played out in community!
Fun Fact: gratitude can also enhance our moods, decrease stress and drastically improve our overall level of health and well being, making it beneficial for both parties involved in its expression!
Daily Gratitude Practice (The Prep Work)
A daily gratitude practice is a great way to begin the day. Some write a list of what they're grateful for in a journal, some read books on gratitude, and others take notes on how they can be grateful in the future. This step certainly isn't necessary when it comes to being grateful, but boy does it help!
One way of showing appreciation for acts of kindness in one's community is volunteering. Best part? It doesn't cost a dime. Time often is the most valuable gift. Have an organization that has encouraged or shown gratitude to you in the past? That's a good place to start!
There is truly nothing like receiving a handwritten, homemade card or letter. Kind words encourage others to practice gratitude and often have more of an impact than expected. Want to step up your handwritten letter game? Accompany the letter with an act: make time to meet up with the recipient and continue the encouragement in-person, include a small gift or treat with your letter, or simply hand-deliver the card yourself!
Meals & Tidying
Delivering meals to neighbors, friends, and loved-ones is a long practiced act of gratitude, and it's a great way to show appreciation to and for people in one's life.
If you know the person or family well enough, cleaning up dishes or helping to tidy their house can often come as a huge blessing. Oftentimes, simply offering to meet a need as it arises can be the most meaningful act.
Showing love to the environment around us is another way of practicing gratitude. Picking up litter, going on a hike, or creating something inspired by the surrounding landscape are just a few ways to do this!
Support A Cause
Whether it's donating clothes or food to a local shelter or sending resources to kids across the globe, supporting others offers the chance to be grateful for one's own resources and possessions.
Food For Thought
Gratitude is a beneficial practice year-round, so these activities are something you can choose to carry with you for a lifetime! Of course, we believe thankfulness and gratitude are not tools to make oneself look good, but to encourage and show love to the ones around us 🍂🕯️