Now that Halloween has come and gone, we’re beginning to enter the wave of holidays before we wrap up 2019. Though this past year has been one with a whole lot of commotion it seems, there is still so much to be grateful for. Thanksgiving is a special holiday because it commemorates the happiness that comes from being grateful. Sometimes with the busyness of life, we can overlook or even discredit those small and simple things that we can be grateful for. In order to help get into that wonderful holiday spirit of gratitude, here are 5 tips and practices that will help you feel more gratitude in your daily life this holiday season.
Morning and Evening Prayer
“The most meaningful and spiritual prayers I have experienced contain many expressions of thanks and few, if any, requests.” David A. Bednar
Elder Bednar explained it best that our daily prayers are opportunities to give thanks for all of the many blessings in our lives. Meditation and prayer have very similar effects on our mental health as they both give us a moment to be present in our lives. When we begin to reflect on all that’s happening in our lives, we can see more of the good we have been experiencing, no matter how small it may seem. Taking that brief or extended period of time to converse with our Father in Heaven keeps us centered, content, and more focused on the good that is happening to us each day.
Keeping a Gratitude Journal
When I was studying at Brigham Young University, there was one semester where it seemed that everything that could go wrong was going horribly wrong. From health issues to incredibly tough classes, to simply being forgetful and having it cost personal relationships, it seemed like I was drowning among all the things that needed to get done. One evening after a good talk with my parents, I was encouraged to keep a gratitude journal where I would record 5 to 10 things that happened to me each day that I was grateful for. Some days it seemed hard to even find 5 things to list, but as the days went on I found my list getting larger and larger. Soon enough, I had a list of 20 to sometimes 30 items on my gratitude list at the end of the day! It was a simple practice but made all the difference during that difficult time.
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The “Reaching Out” Method
I have a very close friend who seems to be the “master” of gratitude. She seems to always have a sunny disposition, but in a genuine and authentic way, and is able to find the good in every situation. When I asked her what helps her feel that sort of happiness, she said she did something called the “Reaching Out” method. Each morning when she would wake up to say her morning prayers, she would ask Heavenly Father who she needed to reach out to that day, and she would without fail, find some way to reach out to that person she felt she needed to during her prayer. Sometimes it would be just a simple message letting them know she was thinking about them, and other times it would be a small gift just to let them know they were loved and appreciated. She explained that as she went about doing this method consistently, she felt a greater sense of gratitude for the people in her life, and all the good that could be found in each day.
Did someone come to your mind while you’ve been reading through this article? Click here to see the gifts and small items we offer at LDS Bookstore for that person you felt you should reach out to.
Spending More Time with Loved Ones
“Let us be more determined to make righteous homes, to be kinder husbands, more thoughtful wives, more exemplary to our children, determined that in our homes we are going to have just a little taste of heaven here on this earth.” David O. McKay
We all live extremely busy lives, and sometimes we can get so caught up in all of the stresses and busyness and forget to take time to be with those we love. Whether it’s family or good friends, our minds and spirits want to be with those we love. Not only from a spiritual aspect but additionally licensed psychologist Angela K. Troyer explained in a recent study that connecting more often with loved ones leads to a longer life, better physical and mental health, and an increased amount of gratitude in our daily lives.
Volunteering or Being of Service
Expressing charity, or love, purifies and sanctifies our souls, helping us become more like the Savior. Through those small acts of charity, you follow the Savior and you act as instruments in His hands as you help, care, lift, comfort, listen, encourage, nurture, teach, and strengthen the sisters under your care.” Silvia H. Allred
There are countless studies, scriptures, and talks from General Authorities that agree that one of the best ways to bring more gratitude in your life is by simply losing a bit of yourself, those parts that don’t need as much attention, in the service of others. As we follow the example of Jesus Christ and seek out ways in which we can love and uplift one another, we begin to see how others are doing the same for us in our own lives. We’ll begin to notice even the smallest of things that we can be grateful for. The Lord loves us dearly, and ultimately wants only that which is best for us. During those difficult days, it can be extremely difficult to find those things to be grateful for, but they are present right before our eyes. When we seek gratitude each day, it will always be returned to us. We can take hope and happiness in knowing that our Heavenly Parents love us on such a personal level and are constantly cheering us on to live this life to the fullest.