November has been designated a month for Gratitude in both the USA and Britain for different reasons. In Europe we have a Day of Remembrance on the 11th and as we see the Remembrance poppies gradually appear on our streets we are reminded of ordinary people just like us who gave their lives so that we can live in peace.
Gratitude and giving thanks are incredibly powerful mindfulness practices that we can use in our lives to increase our wellbeing and nourish relationships. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, and equally as easy to let this slip when life takes over or gets challenging. This of course is when we need to flex our gratitude muscle the most.
Sharing our gratitude with others is so important and research in the field of Positive Psychology shows that we are more likely to feel and express gratitude when shown kindness by a stranger than towards those whose lives we share:
When was the last time you thanked your partner for being there for you?!
How do you think they might feel if you took that one step towards them?
For the past twenty years I’ve been marking each November by re-focussing on my daily gratitude practice, and more recently I’ve been using the power of social media to keep myself on track. Making a pledge to post something different that I’m grateful for every single day of November on Twitter or Facebook really helps get me back on track!
This year I’m using Instagram to give myself the extra little challenge of finding a nice image to go with each reflection. If you fancy following me you can check if I manage it, and I’d love you to join in! Or if you prefer to receive prompts there’s an online 30 Day Gratitude Challenge (not run by me) that you could sign up for .
And of course gratitude goes hand in hand with Kindness. There are lots of groups and projects springing up around kindness and compassion, with an excellent Facebook group in my area of Tyne and Wear that encourages members to both carry out and notice acts of kindness in their everyday lives.
So go ahead and try it, ask yourself once a day every day of November .. what am I grateful for right now?
Gratitude and Positive Psychology: What is Gratitude and What are the Benefits of Gratitude? Meade, Claire. http://positivepsychology.org.uk/gratitude/ accessed 8 November 2017.