Creating a Spirit of Gratitude by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

The holiday season is often a time of reflection and when we pause to count our blessings. While it is traditional and important to give pause to be grateful at this time of year, it is even more important to create an overriding spirit of gratitude throughout the year.

During the course of our normal lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of life and fail to notice the little moments and the little blessings that make us realize how much we have to be grateful for. Here are some ways to increase your spirit of gratitude throughout the year.

  1. Take focus off the “stuff”. It’s easy to focus our lives around having the latest gadgets, the newest cars or eating at the trendiest new restaurant. Even when we have plenty of money to do these things, the gratification they bring fades very quickly. When we base our sense of appreciation on having these things, we fall into a dangerous trap, because we feel very deprived without them. So, this year, begin focusing on experiences with the people you love, rather than things that cost money. Until you’ve made a conscious choice to take the focus off the “stuff” you can’t appreciate the value of two hours spent talking or watching a movie on the couch with someone you love.
  1. Serve. An easy way to remind ourselves of how much we have to be grateful for is to serve in our communities. We gain a new perspective on our own blessings and we learn to appreciate how others live. In addition, serving in our communities gives us a purpose and pride that we can’t get anywhere else.
  1. Tell others what you appreciate about them. The act of putting our appreciation into words can bring that appreciation into focus for us. When we begin to reflect on what to say to let others know we love them, we experience that love in full force, reminding ourselves of the people who make our lives special.

Practicing these three principles throughout the year can help ensure that you have a full time spirit of gratitude. Regularly taking the time to appreciate what you have and to express that appreciation to others is guaranteed to make your life richer and happier.