Ongoing Gratitude

This year’s holiday season has only just begun, but I have received my favorite present already. On Thanksgiving, a friend presented me with my already-cherished “Grati-tube.” He had created and decorated it himself: a large tube with a slit in the cap at one end, with a “Grati-pad” and pen attached to the tube with Velcro. The usercan jot down gratitude notes to stuff into the tube. The end cap can be removed to facilitate revisiting past gratitudes. This gift perfectly supports my goal of celebrating Thanksgiving all year long.

Whether or not you create your very own Grati-Tube, I encourage you to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive throughout the year. Studies have shown that keeping a What Went Well journal has powerful emotional and physical benefits. Each day, regardless of how challenging it has been, jot down three positives. For each item, note what caused these positive experiences. Pay particular attention to times when your agency made your day better. Also, notice when others brighten your day.

Another powerful gratitude practice is to write an elaborate and meaningful thank you letter to someone who has had an uplifting impact in your life. Then find time together to read this letter aloud to him/her. Not only will this be a treasured gift for the person you choose, but this experience will also positively affect you.

Especially with the intensity of the upcoming holiday season, give some thought to how you will continue to cultivate your practice of thanksgiving. It can be as simple as making a point to thank your loved ones and service providers more intentionally. Whatever ups and downs the holidays and new year bring for you, adding more gratitude into the mix will make it more joyful.

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