How to Practice Gratitude This Fall

How to Practice Gratitude This Fall

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns. I am grateful that thorns have roses.” Jean Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Simply put, gratitude is about attitude. Just decide the glass is not half empty but half full and transmit that optimism to the people in your life. You’ll be amazed at how your positive spirit is both contagious and inspirational to others.

As we approach the season of appreciation, the concept of how to practice gratitude takes center stage with a commercial, sort of in-your-face blitzkrieg. Yes, it can be overkill. But if being barraged by Hallmark sentiments can motivate us to focus for just a moment on what and whom we can be grateful for, that’s a good thing.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah Winfrey

According to recent research, having and expressing gratitude as we age can significantly impact our quality of life and the quality of our relationships. Results of one study showed that those who kept weekly gratitude journals were more active and experienced fewer physical symptoms, felt more connected to others, were more likely to reach their goals and just generally had a better outlook on life. Clearly, a little gratitude goes a long way toward making the most of what life has to offer.   

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer

It’s so easy to take the special people in our lives for granted. There is no time like the present to recall a new buddy who made you feel welcome. How about that cooking teacher who helped you create the perfect pasta sauce? Did you ever tell them how much you appreciated their guidance and friendship?

Maybe it’s time for a phone call to an old friend to clear up past misunderstandings or just to let him or her know you still care. Pick up a card or box of chocolates for a person that impacts your life for the better on an ongoing basis. Or just try a smile and a heartfelt thank you to a staff member who made your transition into your new lifestyle a little easier. There are no strict rules on how to practice gratitude. The best advice is simply to follow your heart.

While you’re reaching out, don’t forget family. Ironically, it’s often those we cherish the most, that hear how much we appreciate them the least. Tell the kids how much you love them every chance you get. You are not only making them feel valued, you are teaching them how easy and important it is to say, “I love you!”

Gratitude is like a boomerang. When you put it out into the world, it inevitably comes right back to you. Take the time to let the people in your life know how much they matter and you will instantly feel that gratitude returned.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  John F.  Kennedy