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“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~Cynthia Ozick

Thanksgiving is almost here. It’s probably my favorite holiday. I love the idea of having a holiday dedicated to gratitude – well, gratitude and food and family and friends. And yes, I am grateful for all of these.  However there are so many other little things that I am grateful for besides the big three.

Here is part of my short list:

  • My work. I feel very grateful to have a job I love and clients who are so special.
  • My kitties. They keep me amused and remind me about the joy in small things.
  • My garden. It keeps me connected to the earth. I don’t even mind raking all those leaves.
  • My quiet time. I carve out a little quiet time just for me very early in the morning. It’s my centering.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I’m also grateful to be a woman living in this country at this time in history. This is something that is easy to take for granted. We have so many freedoms that other women around the globe just do not have. Education  is a big one. It’s easy to forget that in so many places girls are not allowed to go to school. As women in this country we also have the privilege of making decisions. We can decide what we want to do, where we want to go and who we want to marry. Imagine not being able to do that! I’m sure when you start thinking about it you can come up with many other reasons to be grateful.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude can be quite powerful, and there’s a lot of talk these days about cultivating gratitude. Why?  Scientific studies offer proof of  the benefits of gratitude.  And even though you wouldn’t necessarily practice gratitude just to reap the benefits, they are a nice bonus:

  • Improved overall health
  • Better sleep
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Greater self esteem
  • Kinder behavior
  • A more meaningful life

That’s quite amazing for just saying “thank you”!

Conscious Gratitude

Having one special day to remember all we have to be thankful for is nice, as is the feeling of gratitude that washes over us when something positive and significant happens in our lives: a new relationship, the recovery from illness of a loved one or the accomplishments of our children. But we often take the “little things” for granted, and in doing so we pass up many opportunities to be thankful every day: something that makes us smile, the beauty of a sunset, talking with a friend.  When you take time and notice what you are grateful for, magic happens!

Practicing Gratitude

Being truly “in the moment” allows us to recognize the potential moments of gratitude that happen every day. Developing a practice of conscience gratitude may take a little discipline, but once you start it’s very easy and the benefits will hopefully make it habitual.

If you’d like to begin practicing gratitude, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Keep a gratitude journal and write down what you are thankful for.
  • Recruit a friend and write down your list and email to her. She will do the same.
  • Choose a time to write. Morning or evening seem to work best.
  • Practice present moment gratitude – be thankful for things as you notice them.
  • Just start!

No matter where you are or what you are doing this Thanksgiving, take a moment to say “Thanks”.

I wish you a very happy holiday. And I hope that you feel inspired to start a daily practice of gratitude. You’ll be surprised at what happens.

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Practice your “gratitude attitude” right now by sharing some thankfulness in the comments below.
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Categories: Beyond, Blog, Nutrition and Wellness, and Women's Wellness.