Thanksgiving is coming up, and most of us will give thanks for the people and things that matter most. It's my favorite holiday. The only stress involved is the turkey (which we're skipping), you get to hang with fam, eat delicious food (ZOMG pumpkin pie) and everyone is happy and filled with gratitude.
Why can't we be like this more often?
QUICK — Think of three things you're grateful for right this very moment.
Family. Friends. Puppies. Coffee. Door knobs ... whatever your list included I'm sure this wasn't a hard exercise.
It's really easy to practice gratitude. The hard part is making it a habit.
When you try, it's easy to give thanks. Even if you're having a bad day and you feel like everything is going wrong, it's still easy to make a list.
It's also easy to want for more.
I had a revelation in front of my closet about "wanting for more." I don't judge myself for doing it. It's hard not to.
I work in advertising, but even if I didn't, I'd be surrounded by ads every day. On TV, Google, Facebook, mobile apps, even driving around suburbia. They're everywhere. And even if we think they aren't effecting us, they are. And what I've found to be even more effective than traditional ads are the walking, talking ads. People. In ad land we call them "influencers." We are constantly comparing ourselves to others and it makes us want for more.
Practicing "wanting for more" isn't something we should try to do ... but we all do it. Yes, you do.
What we SHOULD try to do — partly to combat wanting for more but mostly because it's just a great idea to make you friggin' happy — is practice gratitude.
Practice gratitude even after the last piece of pumpkin pie is gone.
Now's a great time to start. You're likely already doing it. Just keep doing it.
Around November 1, I always see a lot of gratitude challenges pop up in my social media feeds. This year, a big one I've seen is #100happydays. It's a biggie. Usually it's 30 days or 21 days. But 100? That's a whole lot of happy. I did a quick search on Instagram of the #100happydays hashtag. Here are a few recent pics from strangers to show you what it's all about:
Kinda cool, huh?
I'm not saying you should jump on the #100happydays bandwagon. I didn't.
You don't have to practice gratitude publicly. But you should practice it. Because it's just a great idea for your overall happiness and wellbeing.
Here are some ideas:
- Keep a gratitude journal. Write in it first thing in the morning and/or last thing before bed.
- Wake up and immediately make a list of things you're grateful for every day. My morning alarm says, "WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?" as a reminder for me to do this.
- Say "Thank you." Sincerely. At least three times per day. To co-workers, friends and especially to those you're closest with ... for the things you appreciate but often go unnoticed.
See? Those things aren't hard.
On Thanksgiving, when you're all full of pumpkin pie and gratitude, think about how good it feels to be thankful. Imagine if you could bottle that up and keep it.
Well, you can't. But you can extend it.
Let's make gratitude hip, with or without a hashtag.
If we all practiced gratitude all year long, the world would be a much happier place.