The Power of Gratitude – Setting Yourself Up to Feel Good

Nothing is more powerful than remembering all the “good things” in our life to counteract the distressing feelings that seek to creep in during these very challenging times. 

As we approach Thanksgiving, this can be a time to pause and reflect on the good things that are happening all around us. Clearly being mindful of and holding these things within us, letting them sink in and take root is a welcome balm to sooth and reassure us we are going to be ok. 

We can use this time as a reboot to begin to see the good that gets lost among all the hard parts we are going through right now. This upcoming season is known for the light that comes through during the darkest part of the year. Gratitude can pave the way.

Consider starting a regular “gratitude practice”. There are many ways to do this. I am offering some examples to get you thinking as to you creating your own unique practice. 

Starting a Gratitude Practice

  • Dinner Gratitude Ritual – We can start this during this Thanksgiving Time or anytime we so desire. Having a nightly dinner ritual were we all let our family know what we are grateful or thankful or happy for that happened that day. Even if you live by yourself you can take note of the good that has occurred. What a lovely way to end of the day.
  • Blessing Jar or Happy Jar – This can be named in whatever way is a fit for you personally or for your family. It can be done just for yourself or for your family. This can be set up to be done spontaneously or can be done in a routine, set time. Some families like to do this during their weekly family meeting or Sunday meal together. You can experiment and see what fits best. Very simply have paper and pen next to a jar. I like to use mason jars and start with a new one each year, labeling what year it is. Of course, one could use a box or any other container. You or your family could decorate the outside of the container to personalize it if you would like. Or it could just be a simple jar with the year marked on the lid. Having a time when you review all your blessing each year is a nice way to end the year, reflecting on all the good that has occurred.
  • Gratitude Journal – This is normally done individually. But could be a family one as well. Most folks who do these will write down 3-5 things or as many as they like of what they feel grateful or thankful for that day. These can be very simple things. In fact remembering to notice these small things can really increase our good feelings. Some people will date their entry. Before going to bed is a great time to do this activity, letting all the good things sink in from the day.
  • Notes of Gratitude to Others – This is taking your gratitude practice to another level. When we share our gratitude with others it can feel so good to see how we have uplifted another person. It is a very special gift you have given. This of course can be done verbally as well. Sharing compliments and encouragement with our own family is so very important.
  • Gratitude Affirmations – You can collect or make up these affirmations of gratitude and thankfulness. Saying them at the beginning and / or end of the day or spontaneously when you feel you need them can help to rewire your brain to see more of the good. And isn’t this what we all want – to feel good.

Expressing gratitude for the good things in your life will lead to more good things. When we focus on the good, we find more good coming into our life. I wish you the very best as you begin your own gratitude practice.

Easy Gratitude Practice That Can Change Your LIfe

gratitude black woman looking up at sky animated

We all know when we focus on “the good”, it feels good and it creates more good. Gratitude or thankfulness is really a close cousin to focusing on “the good”. Let me share a most recent practice I have been experiencing that I have found helpful in my busy life that I would like to pass on as a possible gratitude practice that you might consider.

I have kept and still do keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes when my life is overflowing with activity, this practice can tend to give way to other things. And I really can tell a difference when I am not doing it on a consistent basis. So . . . I have tweaked this practice a bit or added a piece that works well in tandem.

Be Thankful for Each and Every Single Thing That Goes Well At That Moment in Time

This really is about being open to the good and actually saying to yourself or to others if they are involved “THANK YOU!” I think it even works best when we search for the very small things that occur for us throughout the day and acknowledge them at that very moment. It really can become a way of life. It can literally change your life for the good.

I still encourage a recording of the good in written form as there is something very powerful about the written word. It really does anchor things. So don’t throw away your gratitude journal. Just add this small practice of acknowledging the good and expressing thankfulness. Sometimes I say it out loud. A simple “Thank You”.  This can be tied into your spiritual practice if you so desire to make it even more meaningful.

Here are a few very simple small kinds of things you might be thankful for:

You are late and a parking place appears very close to where you need to go.    “Thank You!”

You have lost your keys. You take a breath and relax and it comes to you where to look and there they are.      “Thank You!”

Your husband has started supper before you get in.   “Thank You!”

You notice a the sky turning pink and orange as the sun sets.     “Thank You!”

You are at the grocery store and look at the long line. As you are about to enter the line, another checker opens and says to you, I am open here.   “Thank You!”

You catch a mistake just as you are getting ready to send out an email.     “Thank You!”

Your child unexpectedly say thank  you for something you have done.    “Thank You!”

You are getting ready to write something and it just comes to you as to the right words.   “Thank You!”

I might add that this practice is a relationship building practice as well in that the more you express appreciation to others and what they are doing, the more they will see you in a positive light. We all want to be around folks who appreciate us. You will probably find those you compliment or thank will return this action in the future. What a great way to live appreciating and expressing our gratitude to one another.

Thank You with Lady Bug animated


Best wishes for lots of “Thank You’s!” ahead of you. Just be on the look out.  You will find oh so many things to be thankful for.

Oh yes, “THANK YOU for reading this blog article!”


Storing Up the Good – A Yearly Blessing Jar Tradition

blessing jar 2014 prep with strips of paper

Sometimes we can forget all the good that has happened to us. The everyday upsets sometimes get in our way of remembering all the blessings that have occurred for us. I decided to start a new tradition this year in our family – A yearly recounting of all of our blessings from the past year. I decided it is a fitting January activity to start the new year out. Remembering what is good is an excellent way to start the momentum to more blessings and more happiness. For me gratitude is a basic foundation for happiness and creating more of what we want. This could be done any time of the year of course, but winter is a time that could use a bit of sunlight to shine in our darkest part of the year.

So let’s store or can up the harvest that we have reaped from this past year. Here is my idea of how to make this happen. Hopefully it will give you a start to designing your own format of how to “store up” the good stuff from this past year.

  1. Gather your family up and explain what you are wanting to do – Create a Blessing Jar for all the good things that have happened in the past year. These can be good things that have happened to each of you personally or to a family member or to your family as a whole. It can be larger highlights or it can be very small things that have occurred, maybe a small piece of progress toward something you are wanting. Note: You can of course just do this as a couple activity or for yourself as an individual activity. 
  2. For fun use a canning jar, such as a Ball or Mason jar for the storing or canning up of your blessings. Of course any jar with a lid will work. I would suggest a quart sized jar or whatever size you need to hold your blessings of your family.
  3. Have each choose a color of paper to represent their blessings they are adding to the blessing jar.  Have scissors available for folks to cut out their strips of paper. It can help for each person to add their name to their blessing so if in the future the family decides to look back at the blessings they will know who wrote them.
  4. As each person adds a blessing to the jar, encourage them to read it out loud so others can hear what they are seeing as a good thing that has happened to them in the past year. This can be a respectful witnessing of each others good feelings and acknowledging the importance of what has occurred for them. We might even reflect on what has been offered for the blessing jar. We can make a comment or ask a question to find out more about what made this so good for your family member.
  5. This can lead to thanks for these blessings or some kind of conversation about being grateful for all the good that has happened in the past year. This can also lead to a discussion about what we are wanting in the coming year. To keep it short or workable for children you can possibly have each person share one thing they are wanting for the new year. You want to keep this to be a positive experience for everyone. If you feel you are losing folks, it is ok to break the activity into two spaces of time or to simplify the activity. There is no wrong or right way to do this. The main goal is to share with one another the good stuff that is happening in your family and showing gratitude for these blessings.
  6. Mark the top of your jar with the year you are reflecting on and gathering the good stuff from.
  7. Store your “canned goods” someplace where you can access them when  you would like to in the future. Hopefully you can find a place in which you can each year add a new Blessing Jar. How cool will it be to add a new jar each year and see a growing collection of canned goods.

blessing 2014 jar final pic with papers in jar with lid in pic

I hope you will find your own version of reflecting on all of the good things that have happened for you and for your family in the past year. I think you will also find this activity to be a connecting one as sharing the good has a way of making us feel closer.  Best wishes for a wonderful new year ahead filled with opportunities and more blessings to come.