When you focus on gratitude, is it something you think about or something you feel? Does thanks swell from emotion? Do you take time to make a mental list and put into words what you are thankful for?
It’s probably like asking which came first: the chicken or the egg. Being thankful can come from feelings—maybe from looking at someone you love across the room or holding an innocent newborn. Just glancing at the morning sky or a flower can trigger thanks. Other times, unless you really think about it, thanks gets crowded out by daily life. Or by worries or illness or envy or weariness.
What helps in those times? Counting may, as Ann Voskamp details in her excellent book, 1000 Gifts. Look around and make a numbered list of what you can give thanks for. One of my friends writes in her gratitude journal every day and emails her “gratitudes” to family. She says it keeps her accountable to stay thankful no matter what the day brings. I suspect she’s also prodding her family to think about their own gratitudes, too. Sometimes it takes a little pondering to get that thanks bubbling up to the surface where you can really feel it.
This week, the US celebrates Thanksgiving Day. Whether you think, count, or just feel that heart-swelling goodness, I encourage you to fill the day with gratitude. And find some way to make it a habit.
I’m starting my list for today with “purple flowers of autumn.” I love the rich tones and, when I really look for them, I can find a nice variety.