How to Seize Your Day and Grow Your Gratitude
Each year as the holidays approach, we are expected to have a cozy and joyful time of year. However, for some this time of year brings sadness, anxiety, or depression. If this is the case, how do you seize the day and lift your spirits? Research suggests that one answer is to grow your gratitude.
What Does Gratitude Mean?
The word gratitude comes from the Latin word grate, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation and responsiveness to what we receive (both tangible and intangible). As we consciously grow our gratitude, we soon realize the source of goodness comes from a power outside of ourselves.
How Do We Express Our Gratitude?
We express our gratitude in many ways. We may:
- Apply gratitude to our past (remembering positive memories from our childhood, being thankful for past blessings)
- Apply gratitude to our present (being grateful for good things that come to us instead of taking them for granted)
- Apply gratitude to our future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude)
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
What Form Does Our Gratitude Take?
The most common form of gratitude is thankfulness based on our circumstances — our blessings, families, health, etc.
Gratitude helps us appreciate what we have instead of always reaching for the next best thing to make us happier. We begin to refocus on what we have instead of what we lack.
All gratitude is beneficial, but true gratefulness digs deeper and is not based on our circumstances. Instead, it is unconditional and eternal.
What Is the Best Form of Gratitude?
Growing gratitude can be difficult when so much is going wrong in the world around us. So many people are suffering and losing friends and loved ones due to Covid. Men, women, and children in foreign countries are suffering and dying under heartless regimes and their rulers.
So, what is the best form of gratitude, and how do we grow our gratitude?
A Jews for Jesus newsletter found its way to my email inbox, and here is a quote:
But true gratitude “is relational; it requires a response, not just to something, but to Someone.”
Do you remember that the Latin word gratitude comes from means grace?
When we think and pray about the grace God has showered on us through the sacrifice of His Son so we might have forgiveness for ALL our sins and live eternally with Him, we are grateful and acknowledge the true source of all good.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow due to change.” James 1:17 ESV
When we show this kind of gratitude, we share goodness and grace with others, because we first received it from God. We want to grow our gratitude and share thankfulness and kindness with others.
Here are some simple ways to grow our gratitude on a regular basis.
- Write a thank-you note, letter, or email thanking a person for their positive impact on your life. (Make it a habit to send one each month)
- Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down thoughts about the gifts/blessings you received each day.
- Count your blessings. Choose a time each day or once a week to reflect on what went right and what you are grateful for. Be specific and think about how you felt when you received these blessings.
- Pray about what you are grateful for and how you feel about it.
- Meditate. Mindful meditation compliments prayer by focusing on the present moment without judgment. It helps us concentrate on what we are grateful for rather than worrying about the “what-ifs”.
“Today I choose to live with gratitude for the love that fills my heart, the peace that rests within my spirit, and the voice of hope that says all things are possible.” – Anonymous
**There are many YouTube videos with short meditation routines. Also, there is an app for your phone/iPad called CALM. It has a free version that is very soothing and restorative. (I use it!)
I Will Take Action!
Why not choose two or more of the ideas above to do for the next two weeks to grow your gratitude?
- Lower your stress levels.
- Feel calmer at night.
- Gain a new perspective of what is important to you and what you appreciate in your life.
- Gain clarity on what you want to have more of in your life, and what you can cut from your life.