Much of North America is about to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving. Most people believe this tradition came from the first Thanksgiving celebration held in 1621 in Plymouth, MA, by the pilgrims for a successful bounty of crops, but the history of Thanksgiving goes much further back in time. In fact, people across the world from every culture have celebrated and given thanks for thousands of years.
While it’s nice to give thanks on Thanksgiving, it’s important to make gratitude a part of our daily life. In fact, having an “attitude of gratitude” not only uplifts our mood but helps us see the positive side of our lives and assists us in creating the positive changes we desire.
Much of having an attitude of gratitude involves training ourselves to feel thankful and to see the good in our lives on a regular basis. Many of us have trained ourselves to complain about what we don’t have or don’t get, the bounty we don’t receive,and to then feel anything but gratitude; we feel resentment and anger instead. Having tools and techniques to practice daily helps us change our attitude, as well as the results we achieve daily.
Here are six tips to help you feel thankful on a daily basis:
1. Say a prayer of gratitude every day for what you have and for what you will receive. I suggest doing this in the morning and at night before you go to bed. In the morning, offer up gratitude for being alive another day, for the sun or the rain, for the job you will go to or the opportunity to apply for another job, for your home, for you family, for the meager bowl of cereal that is your breakfast, for whatever degree of health you enjoy, etc. Find some good for which to offer up thanks to God or Source or whatever you call the Higher Power.
In the Jewish tradition, the first prayer we offer each morning is one of gratitude for our soul being returned to our body after sleep and for all the parts of our body working. Everyone can at least thank God for the fact that their openings are open and their closed places are closed, as the Jewish prayer is translated, and that their soul has been returned to their body for another day of life, that they haven’t died in the night.
In the evening before bed, you can offer a prayer of thanks for having returned safely to your bed, having achieved something during the day, having kissed your kids or your husband or your dog or cat good night, for your boss, your house, your meager money in the bank, whatever it is. You can be grateful for big things and small things. It’s great to go to sleep feeling grateful.
2. Bless your food at each meal. This not only puts God into the picture at least three times a day and reminds us that the Divine might have something to do with our good fortune, having something to eat, but it reminds us that we are blessed to have food to eat. It also reminds us that something greater than us is at work creating the food we eat “growing it” and that once in our bodies that food creates our life force, our life essence, that we need to keep living. Be grateful for the Divine process that puts food on your plate, the fact that you have something to eat and that once you eat that something it gives you life, it is transformed into energy and nutrients that feed your body and then course through it as blood, etc.
3. Take time during a meal or at some time during the day with your family or partner for each person to offer gratitude for at least one thing. Begin simply by saying, “Something I’m grateful for is…” and fill in the blank. Then share as many specific things for which you are grateful as you can think of. You can continue after your first sharing by saying, “And something else I’m grateful for is…” If you live alone, start a gratitude journal. In that journal, at least once a day, do this very same exercise. Write at the top of the page, “Something I’m grateful for is” and fill in the blank with as many things as you can think of. Make it a rule to come up with at least five journal entries per day. This is a great exercise to do at night before bed.
4. Each day spend time being grateful for things you don’t yet have but that you desire. Act as if you know they have already manifested in your life. A great time to do this is in the morning and in the evening with your other gratitude prayers.
Vocalizing our intentions to manifest things in the future provides a wonderful vehicle for actually having them manifest in our lives. And the best way to allow these wonderful gifts into our experiences lies in affirming that they already are coming to us. In fact, it’s a most powerful exercise to offer gratitude for them as if you were experiencing them right in the moment. For example, you might say, “I am so grateful for the job I just landed,” “I am so grateful for the wonderful health I am now experiencing”, or “I am so enjoying my sleek, trim, body which weighs just 150 pounds.” The more specific you get about these goals and desires, the better. Not only do these invocations make you feel better, because they affirm that what you need or want is coming your way, but they have a way of actually attracting these things into your life.
5. Set you watch to chime on the hour, and when it does, take a deep breath and then look around the room and find something for which to be grateful. Or simply close your eyes, take a deep breath, and feel gratitude for the first thing that comes to mind.
6. Thank others for what they do. Be aware of all that others do for you and around you, and voice your gratitude. This is a way of sharing gratitude and giving thanks. More often than not, we forget to say, “thank you,” especially to those we love. Remember to say it to everyone for even the smallest thing: a nice smile, a helping hand, the elevator held open, an opening for you to move into in traffic, a compliment, someone turning in work on time?Just be sure to say thank you more than you feel necessary.
You might also consider leaving someone a tip, or a little thank you note, or sending them an email that expresses your gratitude. We forget to do these things, we don’t take the time, and this is just another way of having an attitude of gratitude.
Some people might find these tips a bit difficult, especially if they find themselves in tough straights this Thanksgiving. Over the past year or more, many people have encountered financial hardship, and others just find it hard to be grateful for that which they don’t yet have: a soul mate, a gratifying job (or a job at all), savings to make them feel secure, good health, etc.
To help these people move from feeling like they don’t have what they want and need to a place of gratitude, I suggest they start small. Be grateful for something little that you don’t have yet. Or move from feeling anger and resentment over not having something to feeling excitement over the possibility of having it. Maybe offer up a prayer of gratitude for the chance that you could have it, or that God created something so wonderful for you to desire. Or feel grateful for desire itself. Desire keeps us moving forward, keeps us excited and feeling alive and wanting to get up in the morning. If we didn’t have desires?to live another day, to write a book, to find a soul mate, to create a piece of art, to save the money for a new car, to eat, to drink, to breath, to love, to connect to Source, we would die. So, be grateful for desire itself.
We have to learn to be happy, to change our energetic vibration, so we can receive what we want. We do that with gratitude. By being happy and thankful for what we already have and for what is coming to us. However, sometimes we have to change our vibration, or feelings, little by little.
So try some of the exercises and tools I suggested. Or simply do things that make you feel good. But find some way to feel a bit of gratitude. It’s a huge energy shifter. And, by all means, offer up heaps of gratitude this Thanksgiving.
About the Author
Human potential speaker Nina Amir wrote The Kabbalah of Conscious Creation, How to Mystically Manifest Your Physical & Spiritual Desires. She offers human potential, personal growth & practical spiritual tools from a Jewish perspective that are pertinent to people of all faiths.Purchase her booklets or /book her as an inspirational speaker at https://www.ninaamir.com .