In November, dark and rainy weather dominates the month (at least in Scandinavia!) and it can be more difficult to remember the awesomeness of life. Also in some countries November is known as month of Thanksgiving Day. To celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving and also bring joy to the dark fall we chose Gratitude to be our Strength of the Month!
According to research, practicing gratitude is one of the best ways to increase subjective wellbeing (e.g. Park et al , 2004 & McCullough, 2003). We wanted to share couple of our best practices how you can celebrate gratitude at home, school or workplace.
1. Gratitude Diary
Start logging a gratitude journal. You can write your diary every day during November or just once a week, what best suits you! Just remember do it regularly. Idea is to write down 1-2 things you are grateful. When you have a really dark day you can read your blessings and remind yourself how great life actually is.
2. Circle of Gratitude
This is exercise where you need your friends, family or colleagues. Choose one day of week when you are gathering for a Gratitude Circle. In Gratitude Circle, everybody shares 2-3 things they are grateful for. This works because everything is better when shared – gratitude as well!
3. Gratitude Letter
Think about a person who has had a great influence on your life or who has really made you happy. Somebody who has done something nice to you but you haven’t really thanked properly. Write a gratitude letter to that person. Try to be as specific as possible: when and where the person did something you want to thank for, how that behavior made you feel, and why that had such a great impact on you?
4. The Jar of Gratitude
Put an empty glass jar someplace, where it is easily spotted. Place empty note papers and pen next to the jar. The idea is that every time somebody in your family, workplace or class feels gratitude, they write down the reason and put a note in the jar. After November, you can read all your blessings out loud or even create a piece of art on your wall with all the notes of gratitude.
5. Small Acts of Gratitude
In our daily lives we have many things to feel grateful for and say simple “Thank you.” Often, we don’t remember to do so in the middle of all the hassle. Decide to pay attention to your everyday heroes and make sure they know how much they matter to you. Tell your family how much you appreciate them, thank your bus driver for the ride, and remember to let your lunch cook to know how delicious the meal was. They are small things for you to do, but have a big impact for the receiver and your happiness, as well!
Which one of these exercises are you going to try first? Let us know!