In Thanks and Giving: Fostering a Practice of Gratitude


Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday. For me, I love a day of celebration where no gifts or party favors are expected. It is a time to gather with loved ones and share in communion of our blessings over a shared meal. I love that November evokes a sense of awareness of a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. So how do we maintain such a practice of daily thanks and giving throughout our lives?

Personally, I have started many gratitude journals and filled mason jars with strips of colored paper with words of gratefulness; but, honestly the pages were more empty than full and the jars often reflected the truth of my own heart….empty of thanks.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a few videos while researching a project that really transformed my heart on the importance of practicing gratitude. In this video, science was showing how words of gratitude had an effect on human cells. Under special equipment, you could see how human cells literally lit up in words of thanks. So it became very obvious that a practice of gratitude with honest intention was good for the body. Additionally, speaking words of gratitude over others had an equal effect.

In many religions and cultures around he world, a practice of thanks & giving is the heart and center of their daily lives.  It is considered the pinnacle of the human experience. It is believed that deepest gratitude is betrothed to a giving spirit. Often we think this is always in a material sense like money or tangible items. Giving is so much more. Sometime it’s your time or even your space in line. It can be demonstrated in a smile, but most importantly your words and attitude towards others. 

We can turn on the news or scroll our social media and be crushed into despair with all the negativity screaming from our screens. Unplugging has been the greatest gift in my own quest for an authentic practice of gratitude. There is a saying that ‘Energy flows where attention goes’. When we intentionally look for the good, the good is what we find. Every morning I just start with a THANK YOU for another day. I pray for eyes to see the good and a heart to know what to give.

I realized that filling pages or jars or any other gratitude practice is only as good as our awareness of the incredible innumerable reasons to be thankful. So I hope as we enter into the most wonderful time of the year, that each heart is awakened and eyes are opened to a new level of thanks and giving. Because it does a body and soul GOOD.