Happy fall y’all! There are things about fall I absolutely love. The stunning colors of the leaves, the crispness of the air, the smell, my cat snuggling with me again, and how sweet fresh apples are. And while I can revel in all of this beauty, my mind often slips to what comes next: shorter days, more darkness, and eventually, snow and cold, all things I don’t love. There are times when I get frustrated with my inability to enjoy right without thinking of what is next. Why not fully immerse myself in the beauty of now?
I *might* have fallen off practicing gratitude this last month. Okay, confession: Three Good Things flew out the window. And in spite of recently re-reading the book Flourish which highlights the amazing AND scientifically proven benefits of gratitude practices (things like sleeping better, more positive relationships, and better performance), and even talking with my clients about the benefits of actively identifying things they are grateful for, I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. And it’s time to get back on. There are some great ways to grow a more thankful heart all throughout November.
I love and highly recommend The Happiness Project One Sentence Journals for noting just one little great thing each day. You can start any time and fill it in for up to five years. Many of those who use it often love seeing what they were grateful for over the past year(s). There is also a special one just for mom's.
Another idea floating around the internet is a gratitude pumpkin, either real or one of the paper-mâché ones that are likely at least 50% off right now. Each day, over dinner with your family or coffee with your work team, write one thing each of you are thankful for. By the end of the month, you will have a ton of great things to reflect on, in addition to experiencing the great benefits above.
This is a great time to have work or other teams reflect on each other’s strengths. Each year, my previous team would receive a piece of paper with the names of everyone else on the team on it. Then, they had a week to anonymously write down what they admired, were grateful for, or appreciated about each team member. We then had an intern add all of the things about each person to a small personalized poster that could be framed or simply hung up in their office. This was a great way, especially at a crazy time of year, to be reminded of strengths and what you bring to the world.
Maybe you need a gratitude account-a-bil-a-buddy who you can text each night with your reflection. Our lives are busy! Find a friend who will be your gratitude buddy. Set an alarm on your phone for everyday. And when you hear the alarm, text your buddy. Bonus points if you remember to do it before the alarm. Okay, really, there are no bonus points other than developing an awesome habit and connecting with a great friend.
With the holidays coming up, maybe it’s time to express gratitude to your partner, parent, child, mentor, colleague or another special person. Find a great notebook or journal, write one thing to them each day in November, and have a meaningful, inexpensive gift come December.
I’ve decided to try out a new tool that just came across another blog I follow, a 30 day gratitude challenge at Bring Gratitude, which includes a guide, weekly check in’s, and a Facebook group for support (and account-a-bil-a-buddies!) You can visit Bringgratitude.com/challenge to learn more.
Which gratitude activity are you up to? As we lean into this next season, both in weather and holidays, how can gratitude help you be fully present right now? And hey, if you need an account-a-bil-a-buddy, click Get in Touch above, and let’s connect.