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Gratitude After Thanksgiving


How do you continue to practice gratitude after the yams, greens and house guests are gone? Regardless of Thanksgiving’s troublesome origins, the day often encourages people to pause their lives and enjoy family, friends, and food.

In addition to Thanksgiving last week, I encouraged you to recognize boys and men in honor of International Men’s Day. How did you do?

"Hey boys, I appreciate you," I said to my sons on Sunday after they stayed quiet while I wrote a draft of this piece. Getting them to control their emotions while they play video games is rare.

A benefit of national and international holidays is that they often motivate us to acknowledge the simple things in life. The smile of a loved one, a breeze on a summer day, a coat during the winter are among the blessings we often fail to acknowledge. A challenge lies in the discipline to continue being grateful after the holiday season has passed.

The following are two strategies for implementing a gratitude practice.

1. Start early. Decide to take ten minutes in the morning to create a gratitude list.

What aspects of life qualify for inclusion on your list? It's your list. You can write down whatever you want. If you have to ask that question, you have plenty to be grateful for.

When I wake in the morning, one of the first things I do is grab my journal and write about gratitude. I aim to identify ten people, places, ideas, or objects I appreciate.

Here’s a snippet from today’s list.

I am grateful for my health.

I am grateful for Gabi.

I am grateful for Vizuri.

I am grateful for Emery.

I am grateful for Mkazo.

Some combination of wellness and family are often on my list. Writing the full statement, “I am grateful for,” before each item increases the connection between your mind and the pen in your hand. Visualizing the person, situation, idea, or possession deepens the feeling of gratitude.

Try it out tomorrow and see how it works for you.

2. List three and expand. In Steven Kotler's book, The Art of Impossible, he suggests creating a brief gratitude list and taking one item to write about in a small paragraph.

Which one is better, creating a list of ten or three? I've tried both and received the mindful benefits. You will have to choose which one or combination works with your schedule.

While I suggested starting early in the morning, you can do it midday or before bed. The point is to create a habit that follows you after the 2023 holiday season ends.

Why gratitude? From politicians working to delete history lessons in the US to war on the Gaza Strip, plenty is happening to justify mindful practices. They help you stay sane in an insane world.

Think about your gratitude plan and share it in the comments below. Subscribe to this blog at this link for future access to posts and e-gifts.

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If our lives are 99.44 percent blessed, why focus on the 0.56? That just takes us to the 'dark side', wanting perfection, challenging God who has exclusive rights.

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