A Little Gratitude Goes a Long Way 8

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~G.K. Chesterton

This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.S. It’s a time for families to get together, eat too much food, and tell stories. It’s also a time when our minds and hearts turn towards the theme of gratitude, giving thanks for all that we have in our lives.

In my family, before driving our forks into the season-mandatory turkey and mashed potatoes, we have a tradition of holding hands and going around the table, taking turns stating what each person is grateful for. It’s a simple, but tear-inducing ritual, and our hearts fill with gratitude for our family members, for our love relationships, for our children, our health, our warm, dry homes, and—of course—the bounty on the table. It’s also a time for laughter, as the youngest often come up with wonderfully mundane items to be thankful for: “I’m thankful for my legos,” one child says proudly; or, “I’m thankful I don’t have school,” says another.

Each time we speak our gratitude, I’m amazed by the shift in attitudes and feelings I observe in myself and the people around me. In the rush of cleaning house and bringing food to the table it’s easy to temporarily forget a sense of thankfulness, but it takes only a word or two to bring it back, lifting the entire atmosphere to a new level. It really doesn’t take much effort for gratitude to do its magic.

Which is why I recommend keeping a daily gratitude practice. And by that, I mean taking a moment and speaking or writing (or both) one thing for which you are grateful. Things we normally take for granted, like a cup of hot coffee or central heating, take on new power and significance.

Practicing gratitude focuses us on what we have rather than what we have not, a lot like looking at every glass and deciding that it’s 1/2 or 3/4 full rather than 1/2 or 1/4 empty. Think how differently we might might experience our lives by simply shifting our thoughts from all the things we have to do and all the things we don’t have, to all the accomplishments and possessions and relationships we already have.

One gratitude statement per day keeps the blues away—and it’s hard to write just one. But the great thing is, you don’t need to. So go ahead and fly on the wings of thankfulness! It certainly can’t hurt, and it can do a lot to help.

In this moment, I am grateful to have such a great community of writers and readers. What are you grateful for today?


Photo Credit: MTSOfan via Compfight cc


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

8 thoughts on “A Little Gratitude Goes a Long Way

  • patsy ann taylor

    I’m thankful for so much, selecting one thing is hard to do. So I will go my roots. I was a lucky baby. Sometimes a lifetime must pass before one realizes just how lucky she is. When I see what other babies have to contend with, I want to fall on my knees and say thank You, God, for putting me where You did.

  • Linda Sievers

    Thank you, Amber, for a lovely reminder of staying in a positive mind by being grateful for all the bounty we have.

    You look great in your photo, by the way.

    My best to you, your family, and your writing family this Thanksgiving.


  • Barbara Toboni

    I’m grateful for so many things from the roof over my head to my health, but mostly for my wonderful supportive husband and family and for good friends like you!

  • Sara Etgen-Baker

    grateful for having a loving and supportive husband, grateful for health and wellness, grateful for words that have such soulful power. Happy Thanksgiving, Amber!

  • Amber Lea Starfire

    Patsy, Linda, Barbara, and Sara — Thank you for sharing your gratitude here, and such a lovely abundance of it. Have you ever noticed that when you share your gratitude with others, it helps them remember their own thankfulness? For example, after reading your comments, I am more thankful for being born into a relatively safe environment, for my family past and present, and for you who are so willing to share your hearts. Thank you.

  • Sherrey Meyer

    Amber, I couldn’t agree more about speaking or writing our gratitude daily. Long ago and faraway I purchased Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and began expressing my gratitude on a daily basis. Then something got in the way, and another something, and . . . you get the picture. I’ve not yet reached 1,000, and I know I have that many things in my lifetime to be grateful for, so I take up your challenge of doing this daily. In fact, I may just dedicate a page on my blog to a gratitude journal. What better place! Thanks for an excellent post and reminder.

    • Amber Lea Starfire

      Sherrey, if you do decide to dedicate a page on your blog to gratitude journaling, be sure to come back here and create a new comment with a link to your gratitude page. What a great way to make gratitude a community event!