While Thanksgiving is often associated with football games and family gatherings, it may be worthwhile to begin a new tradition: to make Thanksgiving a yearly reminder to engage in a gratitude practice. Research shows that gratitude practices can help reshape our brains to be more resilient, optimistic, and happy. The gratitude practice found below is a simple one that you can begin today and try to incorporate in your life for the year to come.
Gratitude Practice: Expressing Your Gratitude for Others
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
– William Faulkner
Each of our days is comprised of people who enhance our quality of living. From our family and friends to the local barista and grocery store clerk, our lives are influenced by the skill, effort, and kindness of others.
However, we may not be in the habit of recognizing this and fail to experience the delight that comes from appreciating the positive impact others have on our lives.
For the next several days, set an intention to express gratitude to those you interact with.
Actively seek opportunities to express thanks to those who make your life easier, more interesting; who awe you with their talents; who make you feel loved; or who make your life more enjoyable (or bearable) in some other way.
Your expression of gratitude can occur in many ways. You may choose to leave a tip for services done well. You may choose to share a few kind words.
And sometimes a simple smile can express more authentic gratitude than money or words ever could.
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
For more happiness exercises such as this one, download my book The Happiness Habit.