As we near the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. I can't help but think about Gratitude this month.

For those of you who join us from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world, Thanksgiving Day is an annual holiday in the United States and Canada that celebrates our blessings of the past year. The day is generally thought to be modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. 

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to relax, reflect, and get together with my family. It's also a time to be mindful and celebratory of all I have to be grateful for. 

And, I'm not a fan of reserving that Attitude of Gratitude for just the day each year. 

I like to make gratitude a daily practice – a part of my lifestyle if you will.

I find that being mindful of all that I have to be grateful for every day keeps me in a mindset that attracts even more abundance in my life to be thankful for. 

Gratitude And Your Brain 

When we give thanks or receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. When that happens, these two beauties make us feel good. Being the super sauces that they are, these wonders immediately enhance our mood, making us feel joyful. 

Founder of Ziva, a widely known mediation training website, Emily Fletcher notes in one of her publications that gratitude is a "natural antidepressant." 

When practiced daily, an Attitude of Gratitude can, for some people, match or outdo the need for antidepressant medications. Of course, one should speak with one’s doctor about such things. But I digress … 

At a physiological level, gratitude creates a feeling over overall, long-lasting satisfaction, contentment, and, yes, even happiness. 

By mindfully practicing Gratitude each day, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves, literally changing our brain and creating a permanent positive nature within ourselves.

Two Ways To Make Gratitude a Daily Habit 

Perhaps it feels funny to create a habit out of thoughts and feelings like Gratitude, but when we do, we begin to shape our self-image, which shapes our lives. 

Try putting any (or a few!) of these daily practices into place and see what happens. I think you'll be amazed …

A Daily Journal

A good friend of mine keeps two journals. One she uses to record her thoughts and ideas, the events of the day, her plans for the future, and her feelings. 

In her other journal, she keeps a gratitude list. Each night before she goes to sleep, she pulls out each of them and takes a few minutes to write it all down. 

Concerning her gratitude journal, she says that some days her list is more extensive than it is on other days. For example, she says there are days when she has one huge thing she feels grateful for, and maybe she only writes about that. On other days, she lists a few seemingly mundane items, but nonetheless gratitude-worthy. For example, she has a roof over her head, plenty of food in the pantry, and her health. 

A Jar Full Of Thankyou Notes

I don't remember where, but I once read a suggestion of keeping a Jar Full Of Thank Yous next to your bed or on the bathroom sink where you'd see it each morning when you brush your teeth and get ready for the day. 

You'll need two wide-mouth jars with plenty of space to dip your hand into them. A couple of tall, cylindrical round baskets would work too, two wooden boxes or a pair of pretty, tall vases. 

The idea is to fill the first jar with 365 slips of paper, small polished rocks, small wooden disks, or anything else you can think of that would allow you to write a word or two on it. Then, use a gold, bronze, or silver sharpie to make them extra pretty. 

On those slips of paper (or the medium of your choice), write down a word or two that describes something you are grateful for. 

It can be anything such as a person or a place, an aspect of your health, something related to your professional life, money, nature, or your favorite four-legged family member. You get the idea. Anything you have to be grateful for will do. 

Every morning before you do anything else, draw something from your jar. Look at it, reflect on it, hold it close to your heart. Take time with it. Feel free to put it in your pocket or purse or set it on your desk for the day if you'd like. Then, when you're done with it, you'll place it in the other jar. 

This exercise helps us focus on specific things that we have to be grateful for and really see, think about, and feel them. It helps prevent our daily gratitude list from becoming something that we do but that we don't see. Instead, it allows us to be mindful. 

Happy Thanksgiving, My Friends

Next week is Thanksgiving, and I hope that you'll take a moment to be with yourself, as well as your family, close friends, and loved ones. Thanksgiving is a time when many of us, as women, allow our self-care to fly out the window. We get caught up as we plan a menu, clean house, decorate for the holiday, shop for those special ingredients, bake and cook, and prepare for our loved ones to join us for a day of turkey, football, and family fun. 

Take time, my friend, for gratitude and self-care. Remember the art of the leisurely hustle. Allow yourself to relax and enjoy the time as you let others contribute, and you allow it all to come together with elegant ease. 

Happy holidays and most importantly, thank you. I am so grateful for each of you. 


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