As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, we are often faced with the idea of giving thanks and expressing gratitude. This can be an easy practice if things are going how we want them to go or if generally things are positive in our life. If we are going through changes or if our life is transitioning, we may have a harder time finding things to be grateful for.
The benefits of being thankful and focusing on gratitude are undeniable and expand across most aspects of our lives. Positive side effects like being more optimistic, being healthier, being more social, being happier and experiencing higher life satisfaction are even more important when life is changing and we feel like we are losing aspects of our life that are familiar. If we can shift our focus to what we are gaining and what we are grateful for, we can reduce anxiety and fear about the changes we are going through.
Find the Positives
When we resist change, we easily find all the things we are losing. It might take some intentional time to focus on what we are gaining. Take 5 minutes each day to be intentional about being grateful. Keep a journal with a list of 5-10 things you are grateful for each day. Be grateful for the small (or big) steps towards progress. Be grateful for the possibilities that come with the changes. Be grateful for the lessons that may come with the setbacks. When we find that there is always something positive to be grateful for, we can be more optimistic and feel more satisfied with life.
Be present in the moment. When our lives are changing, it is easy to become nostalgic for what we had or hopeful for what we want to get out of the changes we are making. Find the things to be grateful for right now. Not the things you had before that are changing. Not the things you hope to get when the change is complete that you don’t have yet. Being present in the moment can help us recognize the things we do have rather than the things we do not have.
Say Thank You
While it’s a great start to start recognizing the things we have to be thankful for, it can also be powerful to actually start expressing that gratitude outwardly. Tell someone you appreciate a small (or big) act of kindness. Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you or supported you through these life changes. Thank yourself for any self care time you take or for finding patience in the process of change.
Giving thanks can have many benefits, including allowing us to find the positives to focus on. When we are being intentional about finding things to be grateful for, it can help us be more productive and help us take steps to create things to be grateful for as well. What do you have to be grateful for today?