A few years ago, my family decided to be more intentional about Thanksgiving and the very act of giving thanks to our loved ones. Everyone has their own 5.5 in. x 4 in. notebook that we spend time writing thoughtful notes to express our gratitude for each family member. And while it’s a bit time consuming, it’s important to take time for the things and–more importantly–the people who matter most. What better way to honor your loved ones than by letting them know you care, how much you care, and why you care?
Oftentimes, people don’t realize what they have until it’s too late. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying “you never miss your water ‘til your well runs dry,” right? Similarly, Kanye West’s Graduation hit, “Big Brother,” refers to that other popular phrase, “people never get the flowers while they can still smell ‘em.” Why? Why do we wait until it’s too late or until a holiday, like Thanksgiving or birthdays, to express our gratitude? Busy schedules? Hurt feelings? Out of touch? Don’t let excuses ruin you or anyone else.
Statistics show that living a life of gratitude brings increased personal health, peace, and joy. The thing is, like my family, you have to be intentional and self-aware. Take a moment, disconnect from the world (ahem, and technology), look around, and reflect. For what are you grateful? Spend at least two minutes of everyday expressing gratitude. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I express gratitude. When I sneeze and someone blesses me, I express gratitude. When someone holds the door open for me, I express gratitude. When I walk down the street and notice my beautiful surroundings, I express gratitude. Take time in the morning and at night to write out what it is you’re grateful for, for it is mighty powerful to have those reminders on good days and bad days.
And just as important as it is to be grateful for what happens in your life, give someone else an opportunity to be grateful for you. Start small by holding the door open, saying hello, or writing a note of thanks to a family member, friend, or teacher. Or go big and volunteer for a cause you support. Whatever you do, be persistent, be consistent, be patient, be thoughtful. And in all you do, be thankful, not just on today, but on every day.