As I looked at my freshly made bed earlier this week, I was suddenly struck with a wave of thankfulness. I cannot explain why it happened at that moment, but I stopped briefly and pondered the blessing of having a bed with clean sheets. It is easy to take little things like this for granted. Not everyone in the world has clean sheets or even a comfortable bed.
The time of year has now come where retailers often skip over the season of thankfulness and jump to Christmas. My wife often laments this fact and complains that Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday. We even joke that Thanksgiving is missed because there are fewer Thanksgiving songs.
At night when I lay down in bed, I try to make a habit of thanking God for something. Many times I am thankful for my wife and children, but it could be for anything that I recall from the elapsed day. I previously wrote about reasons to be genuinely thankful. Today I want to share some ideas that have been helpful to me in cultivating thankfulness in my life.
- Say thank-you. This may seem obvious, but I find it easy to slip into a bad habit of not verbally expressing my thanks. Most often this affects those closest to me (my wife!) because I take for granted the tasks undertaken on my behalf. We regularly are encouraging our children to use good manners and say “thank you” whenever the situation warrants. This is, by far, the easiest and simplest way to be thankful.
- Make sure to notice the little things. This usually requires good listening or observational skills. People will drop clues within a conversation about ways in which their life could be improved. Whenever you are on the receiving end of a blessing like this make sure to take notice. Acknowledging these blessings and not disregarding them will help you to be more thankful.
- Write a thank-you note. Admittedly, I do not do a very good job of this. I am trying to remember to make an effort to write thank-you notes more often now. I find that it doesn’t take much effort at all and can be done in less than five minutes. From what I can find online it seems 50% or less of people actually write thank-you notes in situations where it could be appropriate. However, from my experience, I always appreciate it when someone drops me a thoughtful thank-you note.
- Keep a journal. Write down the details of events or gifts for which you are thankful. This is one of the best ways to remember and reflect on good moments. I have kept a journal with all kinds of entries for many years now. Walking down memory lane as I read previous entries helps me to have perspective on where I am now. When I come across an entry that references a blessing for which I am thankful, it transports me back to that moment and is quite encouraging.
As we travel the highway of life and rapidly approach this upcoming holiday season, I hope these thoughts inspire you to slow down and contemplate what you are thankful for before it all passes by and we are cruising along in 2017.
Question: What other simple ways do you express thankfulness? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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