Disclaimer: I am going to start this blog post off on a pessimistic note…but I PROMISE it’s about to get way more positive.
Because of everything that has been going on in this country, celebrating a national holiday doesn’t feel so great on my heart. That said, a holiday where everyone simultaneously expresses what they are grateful for is pretty great. So, I will temporarily overcome my internal conflict to bring you this blog post on ways to express gratitude in tangible ways.
1. Start/join an email gratitude chain. For the past five years, I have been part of an email gratitude chain where daily, people share lists of what they are grateful for and email them out to the whole Google group. It is like being grateful oneself and multiplying it by ten, because reading what other people are grateful for and seeing their lives through the lens of gratitude is more than half the fun.
2. Write thank-you notes. I have this vivid memory of being five-years old and my mother kneeling down to talk to me to share two pieces of life wisdom: one, it’s not what you know it’s who you know and two, always, always write thank you notes. I am writing this from my aunt’s kitchen where I learned that even if you think people don’t pay attention of you write them a thank-you note or not, THEY DO.
3. Gratitude Journals. Last Monday, I had my students make their own very mini gratitude journals and presented it to them as a challenge to write three things they were grateful for until thanksgiving day and then they would share them. It gives them both the satisfaction of filling up an entire book and seeing it through from start to finish and learning the power of gratitude. I suggested they do their “three things” each night before they go to bed and I had one fourth-grade girl come up to me today to tell me that she finds it works best for her to do first thing in the morning. It kinda made my day.
4. Do/teach a gratitude yoga practice. Make a playlist by searching Spotify with words like “gratitude” and “thank you.” Choose a little nugget of a gratitude story to inspire the asanas and pranayama and…go for it!
5. Send thank-you texts to everyone you’ve ever lived with. Relationships between roommates are something fiercely precious. And hilarious. This morning, I woke up to texts from all my roommates from the past four years and am currently having Thanksgiving with my current ones. Share how grateful you are for them…with them…to get back in touch and start a conversation.