As we head toward November, it’s a good time to to update or begin a gratitude practice.
There are both practical and spiritual reasons for taking time to notice our blessings. Greater Good lists many health benefits of gratitude, including increasing positive emotions, reducing physical discomfort, including high blood pressure and pain, improving sleep patterns, making people more resilient, and strengthening relationships. Gratitude brings us closer to our Creator. It brings humility. When we are grateful, we don’t mistake ourselves for the center of the universe. We understand that separation is a myth and connection is what’s real. Gratitude encourages us to be mindful of the beauty around us. It restores our souls.
Of course, the web is full of ideas for how to practice gratitude. I found inspiration in a nice series of blog posts at daringtolivefully.com:
- 22 Gratitude Exercises that will Change Your Life
- Gratitude Prompts – 100 Things to Give Thanks For
- How Gratitude Can Change Your Life – The Power of “Thank You”
It’s not important that a gratitude practice be a shiny, innovative, spectacular thing. Rather, it can be a steady heartbeat to our lives.
If you aren’t yet consciously practicing gratitude or if you have fallen away, I invite you to choose two or three exercises and invite them into your life. If you keep a journal, think of it as a lab notebook where you can log your experience and track your data.
With practice, we can make Thanksgiving our default, as did GK Chesterton, who said:
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.