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When people change from a negative mindset to one of cultivating positivity and gratitude, amazing things happen. When we fall into gratitude, there is a change in mindset and a shift in perspective occurs. This is usually always followed by improved mood, less stress, enhanced relationships and even health benefits such as improved sleep, reduced inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Here we are in the depths of the fall season and it’s a battle for me everyday. One that I’m winning this year, praise the Lord, or, at least, fairing a lot better than I usually do. I hate fall. At least I used to. But this year I find myself ‘falling’ into gratitude – finding the beauty in the leaves and seeing more than I usually do. Come, fall into gratitude with me, my friend.
It used to be that I would look at those leaves and somehow miss the vibrant beauty. I’d just look at the fallen leaves that were already brown and foresee the bleak emptiness on the branches that would soon be in my vision. I would grumble about cold weather than had not even arrived yet. I’d see the fall rains as snowstorms to come.
Somehow over the last few years I have slowly come to change the negativity in my mind and see the beauty.
Come, Fall into Gratitude with me, my Friend. MyWellnessBasket.net
Feel Gratitude Every Day
Psychologist Shawn Anchor tells us that positivity (demonstrating gratitude and kindness as part of that) is a first step in choosing better physical health. You can listen more about that in this actually quite funny Ted Talk. In the meantime, how do we do it? What steps can we take to make sure we are falling into gratitude each day?
Psychology Today lists ten ways to feel gratitude every day on a post from this past January including starting a gratitude journal, thinking about the day’s gifts at bedtime, and saying ‘thank you’ to anyone who enriches your life. I want to focus here on two of those ways.
A gratitude journal is really just a way to keep track of all your blessings. The simple act of listing just 1 or 2 or, I recommend, 3 things a day can be life changing. Many have had the positive effects on their mindset and life outlook by simply listing three things a day they are grateful for. It can be simple. It can be deep. In fact, it can be whatever YOU want it to be.
I pulled out an old gratitude journal of mine and selected some examples to share with you today:
- Coffee in the morning
- The joy & freedom to homeschool – that we are able to learn at home and choose what is best for our son
- The rain that quenches the plants of the earth
- Psalm50 and God’s power to renew a right spirit within me
- Pachelbel’s Canon in D
- The smell of fresh basil
- The cat in my lap
- Chipmunk running through the leaves
- Butter dripping on fresh bread warm out of the oven
On days that are hard and challenging to add to the list, I simply read the list. It’s amazing what reading through a list of bright positives when I’m in a moody negative mindset can do.
Be Mindful of the Day’s Gifts
This one is very similar to the gratitude journal but here’s how it’s different. This is something you do as the night is ending and you are specifically thinking over the days events. Think about the events of the day. What happened today that was a blessing? What went RIGHT? It can be things you included in your gratitude journal but it can go beyond that. You CAN write these things down but you don’t have to.
I like to do this activity in bed as I’m falling asleep. Lay there and think over the day? What went right today?
- We had nutritious food for breakfast.
- The milk was still good and I was able to add it to my son’s coffee.
- I was able to get seen at the chiropractor’s office to take care of my back.
- The car started.
- The sun shine appeared for most of the day.
- I had clean clothes in the closet.
- Dinner was already planned and was an easy preperation.
- We had a great, stress-free school day.
It’s simply going over the day’s events and choosing NOT to spend time on any of the negatives but simply stating the positives. It’s much easier to fall asleep thinking about positive things and having gratitude.
Furthermore, one can easily adapt this into prayer. Simply stating “Thank you” to God for each positive thing that you think of. It adds the awesome awareness into our heart that God is the one who makes all things possible.
Fall Gratitude Activities
In addition to starting a gratitude journal and listing the gifts of the day at bedtime, here’s a few other fall gratitude activities to consider.
Fall or Thanksgiving Journal
Maybe you’re not convinced keeping a gratitude journal year round is such a gamechanger. May I suggest keeping one for just a month, or even a week? Before determining if it’s a habit you want to incorporate year round, try it out short term first. You don’t need a fancy journal. A piece of paper by your bedside or near your breakfast area in the morning will do fine. Jot just three things in there every day. It can be simple things: My fresh hot cup of coffee, the red leaves on the maple tree, sunshine bursting through the clouds, my son’s laughter, or even the mess in the sink because it shows we had food to nourish our bodies.
Send a Thanksgiving card to 5 people that are of great significance to you. Likewise, it can just be a thank-you card or a ‘thinking of you card’. Tell them why they are important to you and why you are thankful for them.
Gratitude Scavenger Hunt
Got kids? This would be even more fun to do with kids or as a group. Make a random list of ‘gratitude’ things and go hunting for them. Need some suggestions?
- Find 3 things that make you smile.
- Find 2 things that make you laugh.
- Find 3 things that bring beauty to your home (or the outdoors).
- Find something that is your favorite color.
- Find something that smells delicious.
- Find something that reminds you of God’s abundant love.
- Find something soft and comforting.
Gratitude is for Sharing
Share something with someone else. Love pumpkin cake? Bake one and share it with someone. Bake a dozen cookies. Share them with your family. Bake another dozen. Take them to a neighbor. Got some extra coats? Donate them to someone that doesn’t have any to share.
Volunteer work can sometimes allow us to share with others what we have much of and they have little of. It can also help us to be grateful for all that we have. Volunteering can do as much for us spiritually and emotionally as it does for whoever we are volunteering our time to.
Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
Challenge yourself for a week to do a random act of kindness for a different person each day. Better yet, make it two weeks or three! It doesn’t have to be huge to be kind. Hold open a door. Let someone go ahead of you in line. Pay for someone’s coffee. Send a card to someone in a nursing home or who lives alone. Shortly you will see the good you are spreading and feel the joy in our own heart.
In Conclusion: Gratitude and Health
Undoubtedly, gratitude is a key factor in living a healthy life. It’s one of the first steps along with many other things discussed here on MyWellnessBasket.net. With the activities and suggestions in this blog post in mind, simply pick one or two to practice each day. Make gratitude a part of your life. With this intention, you are bound to make a difference. Just keep it simple, and stay consistent.
After you have chosen and practiced just one or two of these for a couple of weeks, come back and share your outcomes with me!
Sources To Help You On Your Way to Fall Into Gratitude:
First make sure you watch that Ted Talk I mentioned above. Here’s another link.
Awesome Gratitude Journals:
Gratitude: A Journal – set up like a little diary this has been one of my very favorites. Very simple.
The 5 Minute Journal – I went with this one for my newest journal because I thought the extra steps for affirmations and reflection it offers may push me further in the positivity direction I want to go. I’ve only used it for three days as I write this post but so far so good!
One Thousand Gifts – here’s the book that got me started with really thinking about how conscious gratitude can have an amazing impact on our mindsets and life!
Want to read more about gratitude on My Wellness Basket?
Check this out! Gratitude While Waiting in Line
And this one! Tips on Practicing Gratitude
Last but not least! Change your mindset with Gratitude