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Cultivating A Gratitude Practice

Today is November 1…it’s 50 degrees in Charlotte, the leaves are rapidly falling from the trees, the time changes tonight bringing shorter days and Thanksgiving is just 25 days away. It always seems that the arrival of November and shorter days signals the start of the holiday season and grounding down for the cold months ahead.

I teach two yoga classes on Saturday mornings and my message to both of my classes was a challenge to start a gratitude practice this month. Gratitude is something I speak of often both on my blog and in my daily life. And it’s not a term I use lightly. It’s so easy to say “oh I’m so grateful” in a broad sweep but gratitude is actually something that I practice.

Ever since reading Brene Brown’s books Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection, I have made a gratitude practice a focus in my life.

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Brene Brown discovered in her research that joy and gratitude are closely entwined and that gratitude is an integral piece to experiencing joy.

This isn’t just an “attitude of gratitude” thing but an actual practice of gratitude. That might be keeping a daily gratitude journal, beginning and ending each day by reflecting on the things you are grateful for and saying a prayer of thanks or going around the dinner table each night with your family and sharing something you’re grateful for.

Your gratitude list might include things as simple as, “I’m grateful for fall scented candles that make my house smell nice and feel cozy,” to more serious matters like, “I’m grateful for my home and for the ability to pay the rent/mortgage every month.” You might think of one thing per day or list 10 things each day.

It might feel a little forced at first but once you begin to truly practice gratitude you begin to see how much abundance there is in your life and how much you have to be joyful about.

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Over the last few years it seems that “gratitude challenges” where people post things they are grateful for each day in November have become popular on Facebook. But I challenge you to start a PERSONAL gratitude practice that you feel deep down inside and I challenge you to share it with those who are closest to you…friends, family, children, loved ones. It shouldn’t be something you do to participate in yet another social media challenge but something you do to make a change in your life so that this becomes a new way of being.

Wishing all of you abundant love, joy and gratitude! <3


{ 14 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Ella November 1, 2014, 9:11 pm

    Thanks for making this more personal, than another social media challenge. It’s more fitting your way!

  • 2
    diana November 1, 2014, 10:37 pm

    i absolutely love this idea and will participate this month. it’s definitely one thing to be accountable to others (mostly strangers) but to finally be accountable to oneself & those you love? now that’s something to feel good about & will feel really special too.

  • 3
    Amber November 1, 2014, 11:05 pm

    I love this idea! Since I started working in the non-profit sector almost three years, and after almost five years of a regular yoga practice, I’ve noticed a huge change in my attitude and my perspective. I do feel a lot more grateful for the “little” things in life (which aren’t little at all to some people – food, a roof over my head, a great support system etc.) but I don’t necessarily have an active gratitude practice per say. I think this would be a great way to get me journalling again so I am going to take on this challenge!

  • 4
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors November 2, 2014, 12:47 am

    The personal aspect of this is so much better than a facebook challenge. I think things can lose their importance when you have to be worried about censoring for social media. This is something I’m going to work very hard on during this month. Here’s to practicing gratitude..

  • 5
    Linda November 2, 2014, 10:01 am

    Love this! I’m sharing and I’m in!

  • 6
    Claire November 2, 2014, 6:39 pm

    I love this post. Gratitude is something I started working on during a time in my life when I was unhappy. It really helped me get through that time, but I continue to practice it every day even now. I have a “grateful log” that I try to write in every night before I go to sleep, and it does wonders for my state of mind and outlook on life.

  • 7
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen November 2, 2014, 6:56 pm

    I love this! Starting a gratitude journal has been on my list of things to do for a while now, but I need to JUST DO IT. Love this 🙂

  • 8
    Mary Ann November 3, 2014, 8:35 am

    Love this post and it’s something I thought about as I drove home from dropping my husband off at the airport. Seeing and feeling gratitude isn’t always easy in rough times but once it’s recognized, it does smooth things out.

    By the way, love your new blog design. Clean and professional and very easy to navigate (but your old one was too!) Have a great day.

  • 9
    Lyndsay November 3, 2014, 12:00 pm

    thank you for the idea and inspiration – i am going to choose a way to participate 🙂

  • 10
    Jennifer November 3, 2014, 2:04 pm

    I’m just catching up on your posts from last week. I decided to start a gratitude journal on my phone yesterday. My goal is to write down at least one thing I am grateful for at the end of each day. November reminds me to be thankful but it is something I’d like to incorporate into my daily life, thanks for the post Jen!

    • 11
      isaac November 3, 2014, 2:27 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing this and making it fit in your lifestyle. It will be awesome for you to look back at the end of the month at everything you wrote daily.

      • 12
        Jen November 3, 2014, 2:34 pm

        and sorry…that was me commenting under my developer’s login!

  • 13
    erin November 17, 2014, 6:40 am

    Jen, such an important practice and starting a gratitude list is something that only takes a moment, but, you’re right, it brings even more joy into our life and we realize how blessed we are.

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