Thanksgiving and the holiday season are some of our favorites for multiple reasons. But in the last few years, the act of practicing gratitude has become one of our favorite traditions. Practicing gratitude means that you take the time to notice and reflect on the things you are thankful for. Research has shown that doing this increases the satisfaction and happiness levels in your life.
We always say that taking a float down the river gives you a deep appreciation for life and nature. We’ve recently learned that practicing gratitude makes you feel more alive, experience positive emotions, sleep better, have a stronger immune system, and express more kindness to others.
Being thankful is simple and free, so why is it that we often set goals to practice gratitude but usually can’t keep up the mindful momentum for very long? Here are a few ideas to help keep your thankfulness fresh:
The gratitude journal
Tried and true, this one always tops people’s lists when they think of ways to practice gratitude. And for a good reason! Writing down the things you are thankful for is an excellent way to actively notice and record the day to day things that make the biggest differences in your life.
It’s nice to always be thankful for a specific person or thing, but focusing on the same things day after day may not be incredibly helpful or motivating on your journey to be consistent about practicing gratitude. Make a conscious effort to notice something new each day and stretch yourself to recognize more than just what is right in front of you.
Social media and our social circles are excellent ways to keep up the motivation to practice gratitude and also to inspire others to do the same. Write a letter to a friend, family member or role model and tell them why you are grateful for them. Try having conversations around the dinner table each night that center on things you are grateful for throughout the day.
So, what are we thankful for? Well, rivers, of course, but also family, friends, pie, campfires, neighbors who are kind, summer nights that are long, and starry skies that unite us as a nation.