This past Thanksgiving weekend, I gathered with a small group of friends to share in gratitude and thankfulness for our abundance. While this year has been abundantly challenging, those challenges have been eye-opening for me. After stopping everything at the beginning of the pandemic, I am now focusing more on how I want to use my time and energy and energy moving forward, focusing less on a culture of busy-ness and more on nourishment, self-care and self-exploration.
I always feel nourished by nature (indoors and out), community, snuggling my cat and through small daily rituals like making tea and writing in my gratitude journal.
Gratitude does not need to be limited to one weekend per year.
A practice of daily gratitude can help to build personal resources for coping effectively with stress and adversity (Bono, Emmons & McCullough, 2012). The experience of giving thanks for what we have can broaden our attention and generate upward spirals of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2001).
Remembering the small things that make my days feel even a little bit better always helps me when I am going through a tough time. Like improv, gratitude for me is always a "yes, and", allowing myself to recognize that "yes, things are tough, AND I feel grateful for my friends who help me through tough times". Remembering that it is okay not to be okay, and it is also okay to find joy in small moments.
Wondering if gratitude journalling is for you? Try writing down one thing you are thankful for every night before you go to bed. After a while, you might begin to see a pattern of the things, rituals and people that nourish you. It's much easier to make time for these things in your life once you have a clearer picture (and handwritten messages) of what they are. Go forth and give thanks.
Bono, G., Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2012). Gratitude in practice and the practice of gratitude. In P.A. Linely & S. Joseph (Eds.) Positive Psychology in Practice. (1st Ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broader-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218-226.