Gratitude, it’s not just for Thanksgiving…

Posted by Amber Bradley on November 24, 2014

Several years ago we were sitting down to a family dinner and my kids were complaining about some thing or another and my husband was not happy because he didn’t have a good day at work. No one had anything good to say. And we were not having a very enjoyable meal with all that negativity floating around. Somehow we came up with the idea that every night each person at the dinner table had to share one thing they were grateful for that had happened that day. This is now a family tradition that we do during every dinner at home. It makes me feel good after working hard preparing a great meal to hear positive things from my family members about what happened during their day.

I didn’t think more of this tradition than that it was a nice little thing we did at dinner each night instead of just at Thanksgiving. Then my son came home from college one weekend with a friend for dinner. As we were getting ready to eat, I explained to his friend about the “gratitude” tradition at dinner. I was half expecting my son to be mortified or hope that we would not do this while he had a guest over for dinner. However, I was extremely surprised, when his friend said, “Oh yes, I know all about that, he told me already.”   WOW! My college son thought our family tradition was a “cool” thing and actually looked forward to sharing our simple gestures of gratitude with his friend. I was impressed.

Our family continues to share our “gratitude” during dinner, and we encourage our friends and family to join in when they are at our table. Never has anyone declined and everyone seems very happy to share a “gratitude” of their day with us.

It feels good to be grateful, we should not just save it up for Sunday mornings or the holidays. We should be grateful each and every day.

Happiness comes when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and are thankful for   the troubles we do not have.

I have listed a few simple ways you can express your gratitude and happiness:

  1. Compliment someone each day- this has truly amazing powers. Just try it and see.
  2. Keep a “gratitude” journal- this can be in a note book or on online. Yes, there’s an app for this!
  3. Be genuine- people can spot a fake a million miles away.
  4. Don’t complain- find some positive in any situation.
  5. Volunteer- donate, contribute to your community. You will be amazed how when you give, you receive so much more.
  6. Smile and say “thank you.”

Gratitude makes us realize what we have, puts things in perspective, strengthens our relationships, reduces stress and makes us happier. Try expressing “gratitude” for a week.  I bet you will be grateful that you did!