Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

It’s Thanksgiving; Now Tell Me What You’re Grateful For

Last week, I got the opportunity to see Blue October for the first time. I’ll be doing a separate post on that soon, but I wanted to share a small segment from the show early because it seemed apt for today. Justin talked about how we should stop complaining and whining and said, “Now, tell me what you’re grateful for” before singing “Shake It Up”.

Complaining can be tempting. I know I have done my fair share of it, and at times I still do. But these days, I try to focus more on the things I can be grateful for, especially when things seem to be going the worst. Sometimes there’s even a way to turn the bad thing that happened into something to be grateful about, even if it’s just seeing what you learned from the experience. For example, awhile back I had a thumb drive crash, and I tried to look at what I’d gained from the experience instead of what I’d lost.

Recently, I reread a chapter from Brene Brown‘s The Gifts of Imperfection for a psychoeducational class I was teaching on gratitude and was reminded that just having “attitude of gratitude” isn’t enough; we must actually put gratitude into practice as well. Justin likewise touches on the need for action saying “What if you challenged yourself to turn your f***ed up rust into beautiful gold?” Whether to improve our lives or practice gratitude, the key part is the taking action.

There are many ways you can make gratitude a practice such as keeping a gratitude journal, writing down things you’re grateful for on paper scraps and putting them in a jar to be reviewed later, writing thank you notes, etc. One of my favorite gratitude practices which helps me to get refocused is to do an ABC of Gratitude.

To do an ABC of Gratitude, you simply think of at least one thing you can be grateful about for each letter of the alphabet. You can pick a theme, as I did in the recovery-related one I shared the other day, or just make a general list. You can write it down, or just do it in your head. Personally, I like to write it down so I can jump around as well as return to it later if I choose to. As an added bonus, it’s kind of a challenge, so you may find you get a sense of accomplishment from managing to get to the end. I know I do.

If that seems daunting, sometimes I find it helpful just to think of a few things I’m grateful for about the day. For example, today I’m grateful that I have a job that gave me Thanksgiving off as a paid holiday. I’m also grateful that said job considers tomorrow part of the holiday too, and since that’s my regular day off, I’ll get some holiday hours I can use for paid time off later, which will hopefully go toward having an adventure I can be grateful for later.

What are you grateful for today? Feel free to share in the comments.


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