November is one of my favorite fall months because it’s National Gratitude Month! Each year the month of November is dedicated to practicing Gratitude and recognizing gratitude. So, what is gratitude?
Gratitude is an active process of acknowledging the good in your world and putting your attention toward the positive in your life, rather than the negative. This active practice can improve your mental well-being through elevating your mood, decreasing stress, and shifting the negative thought process we can often become stuck ruminating on in our busy lives.
November is National Gratitude Month, and there is no better time to start practicing gratitude than today! Giving gratitude to others and receiving gratitude from others can improve our happiness and our self-worth. As you practice gratitude, it can shift your emotional state toward feelings of gratitude, which makes practicing gratitude a very helpful coping skill.
How can you practice gratitude today?
- Tell someone how much you appreciate them or write them a thoughtful note. It doesn’t matter how short the message, appreciating others is beneficial to you and to them!
- Say Please and Thank you. Saying Thank you in the moment, is helpful in appreciating other’s actions and making you and the other person feel more positivity.
- Take a moment to enjoy the beauty around you. An active appreciation of your surroundings can shift your perspective to the positive in the present moment, which is helpful to raise your mood and reduce your stress.
- Be grateful for what you have. Appreciating what you have, both physical items and personal strengths, can help you become more understanding and balance your inner self-talk.
- Volunteer or help others. Taking time to help others is a meaningful act which others will be grateful for your help and you can be grateful of your ability to help others.
- Keep track of your gratitude in a journal. Creating a daily list or reflection of what you are grateful for and why can help you shift your thought patterns for the long term. Try writing down five things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. Cultivating the “why” can help you have a deeper understanding for the reasons for gratitude in your life.
This Thanksgiving and the next 30 days (starting when you read this) I challenge you to make an effort to practice gratitude in your life. There are only three things you can truly own in life: your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. Take ownership of your thoughts, feelings, and actions through an active practice of gratitude today!
– Jennifer Parks, Psy.D.