November has forever been the month that we all become more focused on taking note of our blessings. We are surrounded by reminders that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we feel the need to pause and take a quick inventory of all that we have to be grateful for. Learning to keep that spirit of gratefulness going long after the turkey is carved and the last piece of pumpkin pie is devoured is quite another story, however. For most of us life gets in the way and our fast-paced schedules keep us on the treadmill, forever running to the next thing.  This results in little time to stop and deliberately focus on our blessings and being grateful.

What if there was a way to keep that spirit alive all through the year and maybe even blend it into our daily routines and habits.   What if by incorporating a grateful spirit into our daily lives we also helped to increase our emotional and physical well-being.  And, what if we realized that the benefits of living a life seasoned with gratefulness each day increased our happiness levels.   The GOOD NEWS  is, all of these “what ifs” are possible and achieveable!

Recent research studies clearly show us the benefits to our emotional, mental, and physical well-being by keeping a spirit of gratefulness in our minds and hearts.   One way to help achieve this is to keep a “GRATITUDE DIARY” in which we write down 3 to 4 things we are grateful for every day.  Studies have shown this to be a powerful tool in raising happiness levels and can serve as a powerful healing practice as well.  A Gratitude diary is a journal, log, or notebook that we write in daily to list those things, people, events, etc. that we are grateful for.  Not only do we benefit emotionally, physically, and mentally from this exercise each day, but it also gives us a way of tracking over time the good things in our lives that we are thankful for.   It is also beneficial for us to go back and read our entries again in our Gratitude Diary many months or years later to remind ourselves of our blessings.

So, keep the spirit of THANKSGIVING alive in your heart and your life all year long by adopting the new habit of keeping a Gratitude Diary each day.   The benefits will surprise you, enrich your life in positive ways, and will endure long after the turkey and dressing at Grandma’s house are just a sweet memory.

– Deborah Olson, M.A., LPC