Living a Life of Gratitude
Gratitude is defined as “…the state of being grateful…”.
I always see the posts on Facebook about what a person is grateful each day. I’ll admit it, I’m even doing a quick daily video about it. It happens every year in November. But, why do we only think about this in November. I know, I know…Thanksgiving is what spurs this on. But, stop and think for a moment. Why do we only seem to show this gratitude during the holidays? Why are we not doing this all the time?
Living a life of gratitude isn’t necessarily an easy thing. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, it can happen. Here are a few steps to help guide your towards a life of gratitude.
Do For You
Stress is a killer…literally. When you are living a life of constant stress, it can be chaos. It hurts you mentally, emotionally, and physically. While you can never completely get rid of stress in your life, there are definitely ways you can ease the stress.
Take Some Time For Yourself…
This is so often easier said than done. We live crazy full lives. Between work, family obligations, and any extra commitments we may have…sometimes finding a moment for yourself can be extremely difficult. One way that I have found to actually make “me time” happen is to schedule it in. An example of this is this coming weekend. My husband and I actually requested a day off together, we are scheduling massage appointments, and going out to dinner. We have both blocked out our schedules for this. While it may seem strange to have to schedule in time for things like this…it is something that definitely works for me.
There are many things you can do to take time for yourself. While my favorites are massages, pedicures, and things like that….that may not work for you. It’s all about finding your favorite way to relax. For you, that may mean taking a day to read that book you have been wanting to read, being able to give yourself a spa day, or even going and getting your hair done. The purpose is to be able to relax.
I know that this may seem somewhat cliche, but it works. For some it may be actually writing in a journal. For others, writing a letter to someone that you never send…just burn it or rip it up. The purpose of it, however you do it, is to purge your system. Get it out. It’s amazing how lighter you can feel once you get it out of your system. I like to use an app called FML. You can post anonymously and just vent. Nobody knows who you are. So you can let it all out without repercussion.
Work On Your To-Do List…
While this may seem counterproductive when it comes to getting rid of stress…it really isn’t. I commented earlier about our busy lives. When you are constantly on the go, working or whatever, things go to the wayside. We tend to make a mental, or sometimes physical, list of things that we need to do. It may be to scrub the grout in the shower, or organize your closet, or even clean out your pantry. Whatever it is, take some time to tackle a project that you have been wanting to get off that list. Reason being, you have made that list shorter, which removes a portion of stress from your life…even it it’s only by 1 item.
This is huge in our home. There are so many ways to do this. You can actually write down meals for the week on a calendar or dry erase board. You can meal prep. I am a list person. I love making lists. So I make a list (this is my favorite list to use) where I write down not only the meals I want to make for the week, but I also make the shopping list for the week, all on one page. I assign easy to make meals on days when both my husband and I have to work, and the more labor-intensive meals for when at least one of us has the day off and has the energy to make the meal.
Do For Others
While this may seem like just another thing to add to the things that you have to do, it really isn’t. Doing for others can be a very humbling experience, and often times it comes with a sense of peace.
Pay It Forward…
This one is pretty easy to do, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. They have even made a movie about it. Do something for someone, with the intent that they do something for someone else. This can be as simple as buying coffee for the person behind you. I have actually had someone do this for me, and let me tell you, it made my day. Just that simple act of kindness can touch the heart of others.
Donating is a great way to do for others. Along with my husband, I have a ministry called Blessings Through Blankets. We have yarn that is donated to us, and I turn that yarn into blankets and scarves. A couple of weeks ago we took about 4 dozen scarves down to a breakfast for the homeless and passed them out. Yesterday, we took about 4 dozen blankets to Ronald McDonald House. It was very humbling for us, and often times is a reminder to us of how truly blessed we are.
Volunteering is simply giving your time and services to others. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of ways to do this. Not only will it touch your heart to serve others, but the impact that you will make is immeasurable.
Share Your Ideas
What are some of your favorite ways to show gratitude in your life? What suggestions do you have for others? Feel free to share what you are most thankful for at this point in your life…and be a blessing to someone!