There’s just something about the month of November that brings out the spirit of gratitude in all of us. Maybe it’s the gathering of friends and family over the next few weeks, or maybe it’s the anticipation of picking out the perfect gift for a loved one or bringing up all the holiday decorations from the basement. Whatever it is, there’s just something heartfelt and incredibly warm about November.
But how can we cultivate a spirit of gratitude when we may not be completely satisfied with what is going on in our lives? Can we truly be thankful if our 2017 has thus far not been especially fruitful? We sure can. Thankfulness, like any other attitude or emotion, is a choice. And just like character and confidence, the more you exercise your gratitude muscle, the stronger it becomes. Here are three ways to get your heart centered and ready to overflow with thanksgiving. In case you need more inspiration, check out our Life-Changing Classic, The Advantages of Poverty by Andrew Carnegie for a tremendous lesson in selfless giving.
Focus on what you have, not what you need. We spend so much time asking God and others to meet our needs. But it’s important that we first recognize just how blessed we truly are. Like the child who always wants a new toy, we often forget to assess what’s already in our toybox. If a life of service to others is the only life worth living, why do we spend so much time fretting over our own needs versus the needs of others? Bring what you have to the forefront of the gratitude table and watch your plate overflow.
Be present. Are we thankful for our needs being met on a daily basis? Or are we too busy stressing over our weekly, monthly or even retirement bread? I’m all about planning ahead, but we must first pause each and every day and give thanks for our immediate gifts and blessings. Worrying about our future needs and whether they’ll be met is one of the most unproductive and joy stealing things we do. Yet it seems to occupy so much of our thoughts. Just for today - or perhaps just for the moment - be wholly aware and satisfied with your life just as it is. And tomorrow do the exact same thing. Before you know it, you’ll be living in a daily and constant state of gratitude
Keep a gratitude journal. At the close of each day, take five to 10 minutes and jot down a handful of ways your needs were met by an act of grace coming into your life. So often we miss identifying the multiple ways and times life unfolds before us. Pay attention to these slight, but powerful, acts of fulfillment. It’ll change your perspective on how many things are working for you and blow your sense of gratitude sky high.