Frost covers the rooftops, and leaves are quickly falling to the ground. Thus begins the season of festivities and family traditions.
With traveling plans needing to be arranged, turkeys needing to be carved and decorations needing to be put up, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget about taking time to reflect on all the things you are grateful for.
As the holidays are quickly approaching, here are a few ways you can prioritize an attitude of gratitude throughout the remainder of the year.
Keep a gratitude journal
One way that helps me to keep gratitude at the forefront of my mind is taking time to write about those things I’m grateful for. I’ve done it several different ways in years past, following different prompts and formats.
I remember as a child in elementary school, I was challenged by a teacher to write a list of 100 things I was grateful for over the span of a month and not repeat any items. When first assigned, I thought the task ahead seemed daunting and impossible, but after listing a few things each day, I found it much easier and more enjoyable than anticipated.
In your gratitude journal, you could write a more in-depth prompt about one event or occurrence that happened that day that you were most grateful for, or you could set a five-minute timer and list as many things as possible that you were grateful for in the day. Another idea is to have a set number of items you find to be grateful for each day of the month and not repeat any of those items as you go.
Schedule a few minutes of reflection time into your day
A lot of power, learning and gratitude can be found in taking time to reflect and be still for a few minutes each day.
For some people, this looks like taking time for meditation or yoga. For others, it can look like a quiet walk through a neighborhood or the campus gardens.
No matter how or where you choose to be still, take some quiet time to think each day and focus on those things which make you feel thankful to be who you are and where you are.
Send a gratitude message
There are a lot of mental health benefits that can come from writing and sharing messages of gratitude with others.
According to studies from scientists at the Greater Good Science Center, they found that even the act of writing gratitude letters — regardless of whether or not those letters were sent to intended recipients — can “help you appreciate the people in your life and shift your focus away from negative feelings and thoughts.”
While the act of writing gratitude messages comes with its own personal benefits, you might as well send those gratitude texts, emails or phone calls to those you intend the message to be directed. You never know the difference you could make in someone’s life by taking time to appreciate the good they are doing or the example they are setting.
Pay it forward
One of the best ways to express our gratitude for the goodness in our lives is to turn around and create goodness in the life of someone else. A plate of cookies, a warm hug, a gentle smile or another gesture of kindness can go a long way.
This type of gratitude that prompts us to act enables greater blessings to flow into our lives and the lives of others. It creates an attitude about us that is a contagiously positive example.
President Thomas S. Monson once said, “We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”
As you go about your day and the rest of this holiday season, I hope you’ll choose to be grateful. I hope you’ll choose an attitude of gratitude.