A Plan for Gratitude by Pat E. Perkins
Year after year, we get to a season where practically the entire planet is sharing and caring in a way that’s not the norm. We kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving and start to manifest this feeling of gratitude. What if we were to consider that the feeling we have is not based on a specific holiday, but something that’s available to us at any given moment. Without any hesitation, I simply ask that you take your current experience of gratitude during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend into your entire year. Many people have already gravitated into the shopping mode with thoughts of bargain hunting and acts of trading treasures for time and attention.
Well, my desire for you is to maintain a constant practice of gratitude by creating it and then give it away as frequently as you can. Here are a few ways you can preserve an appreciative state of mind all year long:
#1: Simply say “Thank You.” This is a complete sentence. Saying thank you when you wake in the morning begins your day with gratitude and goodwill. And, if you believe you need more, complete the sentence. For example say, “Thank You, today I am grateful for breath. ”
#2: Create a Gratitude Playlist. My music list, for those times in which I’m feeling grateful or desire to create the experience includes both gospel and pop favorites. Songs such as: Great is your Mercy, I Surrender All, Nobody Greater than You, I Look to You and Imagine Me are all personally inspiring. Your list could include any genre. You know what inspires you; so make a playlist today just for you.
#3: Have a Gratitude Jar. My good friend Greg Hinton inspired me to start a gratitude jar. He puts indelible memories in a jar that he’s thankful for throughout the year. This is an activity you can adopt so when you have those experiences that bring you joy, write them down and drop them into a jar. Put your jar in a place that’s visible to you on daily basis and place a small pad and pen next to the jar so when you are prompted it will be easier to write it down. Go back and read them anytime you want to feel grateful.
#4: Send Gratitude Cards. Throughout the year, I find it very important to tell people how much I appreciate them and how grateful I am to have them in my life. In previous years, I would spend time perusing the rows at local card stores looking for just the right message to add to my card collection. One day, the card would have a purpose and a recipient and it saved me the time later searching when I needed that special card. Today, I simply use my on-line system SendOutCards which I can use to send a real card at anytime.
#5: Give Gratitude Gifts. The day before Thanksgiving, I drove around to a select list of individuals who have inspired me or showed compassion “just because.” This was not a long list, but just a few people who would least expect it. They are the type who are never looking for something in return; however, give freely and generously. This token of my appreciation is small, but specifically picked for them. This did more for me than for them. If you think about it, who actually gets a bigger kick out of giving, the giver or the receiver. I know, some of you probably said both.
The bottom-line: Make gratitude a year-long experience versus something you do only around the holidays.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson