Giving Thanks: How Gratitude Can Improve Your Life

This article is repost and re-edited from my 2010 post, just in time for Thanksgiving day! Not really shopping Grey Thursday or Black Friday or Cyber Mondays deals here. Just pure Thanks, Gratitude and feeling of contented-ness!

We as an Indians just celebrated festival of Diwali last month, which is Major Hindu Indian festival celebrated through out India. Living in USA also means, we also celebrate other festivals such as Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Holidays makes many of us in festive, generous mood and I can feel the festivities, parties and business around that comes with holidays.

Along with generosity and Thanksgiving holidays, the point of these holiday is to remember things that we are thankful in our life for. We should thankful for not just for food, water and shelter but many more little and big moments and events and blessing that we get every day and through out the year.

Being thankful is easy to say but hard to follow sometimes, when we are going through some issues in our lives. We as people tend to remember bad memories and things much more than good deeds. I want to show you how giving thanks or gratitude can change and improve our life. We should be thankful and show gratitude not only during holidays but through out the year.

Here are a few ways we can give thanks and gratitude, through out the year.

  1. Write down things in Gratitude Journal: When I started writing in one, I started writing everything in it like good and bad and ugly things, that should be your regular journal should be. However, gratitude Journal should only have positive and things that we are truly happy for.  For example, I wrote yesterday: “I am truly grateful to see sunny day in November.” It does not have to be life changing, simple thanks surely adds up.
  2. Focus on What you have: Many times we compare ourselves with other people so much that we forget many good things we already have. For example, “I am truly fortunate to simplified my life to point that we can survive with savings while we are trying to focus on our passion and compassion for life”.
  3. Thank your Spouse and Kids: Your life is going smoothly is might be because the help we get from family and friends around. Friends and family makes life worth living and more enjoyable. For example, I was feeling bit down right now and my 5 year old R came and give me a kiss and told me a joke. That totally changed my mood. I am also thankful to Zenguy, who is watching both kids so I can finish writing this article. That are many small and big things that our friends and family do, through out the year for us, let us thank them from bottom of our heart.
  4. Thank your Parents: Your parents have done so many things for you since you were born. I did not realize how blessed and hardworking parenting can be until I had my first child. Now, life has become very busy and hectic but I truly appreciate my mom and dad, who took care for me, taught me things to make a better person.
  5. Thank you In-laws: In many culture in-laws can be dreaded words as some of the in-laws tend of overly critical of you or very possessive of your spouse that may make pleasing them bit harder. There are good in-laws also who become your second sets of parents for you. Regardless of how you feel about your in-laws, I think we should thank them. I am truly thankful to my in-laws for raising a wonderful guy like Zenguy, who is good husband, best friend and greatest dad and most of all kind human being who wants me to make my life more positive.
  6. Thank your friends: Friends are family that we choose for ourselves. Many times friends have been there for us, when we were down, when we needed some lifting up. You may have one good friend or many, thank them for truly what they do everyday, just for being there for you.
  7. Thank other people you do not know: Now, this might be a alien concept, how to thank someone you do not know but it can be done. Many times people are helping you without us realizing it. For example, I am truly thankful for parents who started homeschooling and making it legal in USA so that I can choose to home school my kids today, if that is what I choose to do. I am thankful for technology advantages to I can blog today and share my thoughts to who wants to read.
  8. Think positive from bad situation: If you thought #7 was tough, this may seem even harder and tough. How can we see anything positive from a bad or worse situation. I will show you how, for example, “I am thankful to that slow driver who cut in front of me so I had to slow down and avoided getting a speeding ticket from a police who was just 200 yards from where I was.”  Do you see the difference? There is a silver lining or positive in almost all situation, so let’s try to improve out life by thinking positive.
  9. Thank Animals: Many times we only think of thanking only humans and our loved ones, when we stretch the limit to thank other living things in life that have given joy, our life truly becomes happier as it is filled with gratitude. For example, I had great fun with my brother’s dog Ruby and my room mate’s dog, when I took them walking, and playing with them, they gave me unconditional love and tremendous joy. If you have dog, cat, fish or any pet that gave you moment of joy and cheer, thank them truly. Think about the any animals that have given joy in your life: Dogs that love you as soon as they see you or  cats that think your lap is the best place to nap in the whole world, birds whose songs uplift your spirit and so on.
  10. Thanks Plants and Vegetables: Have you ever visited a tranquil garden with flowers, butterflies and bird chirping? It has so calming and soothing effect on me and I am sure many of you as well. I am thankful to all trees that have provided shade to me from sun’s heat, flowers with beautiful colors which has given me an inspiration to draw something or sing a song. And most of all, I am thankful to all vegetables and fruit plants to give me nourishment to live and eat healthier.

How to share Gratitude and give Thanks in simple ways

While some things may sound weird to a few of you, go ahead try it. there are many ways to take your part in random act of kindness and you can help during bad economy too.

  • Thank someone or something today. If friend has helped you, send him or her an email or call and just say thank you for being there.
  • Hug your spouse and kids, just because they are part of your life.
  • Tell your parents how much you appreciate them
  • Sing a song with bird in garden, even though you think you can not sing.
  • Find a positive in worse situation to lift up your mood.
  • Pick up garbage and put in trash bin, just because you want to.
  • Give thanks not only during holidays but every day.
  • Write in your Gratitude Journal for things that makes you happy and smile
  • Make someone happy today
  • Help someone at grocery store, who might be struggling with bags
  • If you see any child cry somewhere, instead of being critical, help the mom or dad to see if you can help.

This article is my contribution to Eric’s Eden Journal’s this month’s campfire. See below.

Your Turn:

How do you give thanks? Do you have gratitude Journal?  Did you share your gratitude with anyone today?

Check out other related articles:
Being enlightened
How to reuse Halloween Candies
Stress Free Thanksgiving Party

What is the Personal Development Campfire?
Imagine all your favorite personal development bloggers gathered around a campfire. Campfires are great center pieces of relaxed and free flowing conversations. Think of all the wonderful conversations and the wealth of topics that might arise. That’s the idea behind the Personal Development Campfire. Your favorite bloggers all gathered together discussing a new topic every month. (Bloggers click here for details on participating in the Personal Development Campfire.)

  1. Eden Journal
  2. Giving Thanks: Heart and Mind
  3. 5 Reasons to Give Thanks | Han of Harmony
  4. Gratitude – How to be thankful in trying times

Image: br3akthru /