By Deb A. Garbeil
The month of November can have us surrounded by the word ‘gratitude’ and all of its synonyms. One of the definitions of gratitude is “noun: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” So, it makes sense that the Thanksgiving holiday puts this word into the forefront of our minds. But, what if we thought of gratitude as more of an action, a way of life, or a daily practice?
Practicing gratitude helps us to stop and think, become mindful and to appreciate and connect with others. When someone helps us by opening a door when our hands are full or gives us that sweater we’ve been eyeing online, we feel grateful. Practicing gratitude here would be to stop for a mindful moment to think about the giver, about the thought and time they spent on us, appreciate that person and their actions and then connect with them by giving thanks.
So much of our daily life happens through impersonal means like the phone and computer, it can leave us feeling isolated or lonely. But if we practice gratitude, it can remind us to not only connect more meaningfully to others, but to ourselves. It reminds us to take time to look within, to focus on what we have, to notice our emotions and to understand what is important to us. Nothing or no one is too small for gratitude.
We can choose to practice as often as we like. We can give thanks to nature for the air we breathe, to our neighbors that check in with us, to our pets that provide unconditional love and to strangers that say good morning. If we practice gratitude towards ourselves and others we already have a key to happy moments, happy days and happy holidays.