There’s No Timeline for Thankfulness

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It’s often easy to forget to be grateful for the little things in life—but what seems so small can actually be more impactful than one may think. Every single day, you are faced with multiple opportunities and situations. Some of them are embraced with joy and thankfulness, while others are not so welcomed. With the busy hustle-and-bustle lifestyle, it’s easy to end the day without once reflecting on the things for which you’re thankful.

You may have seen in recent years where people post their “30 Days of Thankfulness” on social media—a trend that causes individuals to reflect upon the various daily occurrences, tangible items, or people in their lives. If you peruse your timeline, you might find people declaring their gratitude for family, great friends, love, everyday conversations, four-day weekends, running water, music, the opportunity to worship, sleep, sweaters (yes, sweaters), the generosity of a local community, umbrellas—and that’s just a small sampling of the plentiful list of things for which people are thankful.

But how often are people openly so thankful for such things when they aren’t part of an annual challenge on social media?

Being thankful, and showing that thankfulness on a more regular basis, can actually help you practice a healthier lifestyle, both physically and emotionally. According to the Harvard Medical School, gratitude is commonly associated with increased happiness in an individual, leading to a more positive emotional demeanor, a stronger ability to cultivate relationships with others, an overall improvement in health, and a more effective ability to overcome hardships in life.

There are many different ways you can practice living with a heart of gratitude.

Write it down. Starting a journal of thankfulness—or maybe even using little Post-It notes and placing them in various places where you will see them as reminders later—can help you reflect more upon your gratitude by applying your thoughts to paper. By writing down those things for which you are thankful, you also give yourself the opportunity to come back later and remind yourself of that gratitude.

Tell someone. When you vocalize your gratefulness, it’s no longer just a thought in your head. Instead, it’s something you’ve declared and made known to another person—even better if you’re actually telling that person that you are thankful for him or her.

Use social media. Don’t be afraid to take part in the November “30 Days of Thankfulness” challenge on Facebook, Instagram, or any other apps and sites you might use. Not only does it provide a new level of accountability for you, but it also causes you to find a different thing for which to be thankful each day, thus making even those “small” blessings rather significant.

Do things for other people. Oftentimes, people get so caught up in their own busy schedules that they forget to slow down every once in a while and lend helping hands to those around them. Serving others, though, is actually an act of thankfulness, as it shows you’re thankful for those individuals, and you’re grateful to be able to be there for them. Take a picture for a group of friends trying to capture a memory. Let the person with only one item cut in front of you in the grocery store. Tell the barista you appreciate him for providing you coffee every morning. Let your coworkers know how valued they are at your workplace.

While November is the month people tend to be more thankful than usual, there’s no rule that says that has to be the case. You have the capability to be thankful any moment you choose. There will be big blessings in life, and there will be those that often go overlooked—but you don’t have to let them. And, equally as important, don’t forget to be thankful for the wonderful you that you were created to be.