It’s almost Thanksgiving Day here in the USA, so we’re going to keep this short and sweet! I’m departing from creative writing just a tad to talk about just general life writing.
On Thanksgiving in the States, as pretty much everyone knows, we try to focus on gratitude. I’ve been working hard myself to focus on this year-round, because my brain tends to forget the grace and victories of day to day life pretty darn fast.
If you are looking to find ways of recording your own gratitude, here are five ways that have worked for me in the past:
1. Thank You Letters
I know, right? Who am I, your mom? But thank you letters are a lost art form. And I don’t mean just for presents. I knew a group of girls during college would would meet biweekly just to write thank you letters for an hour. They would write letters to anyone about anything. I received a card from one of them, thanking me for my insights during one of our classes. It sounds weird, but it’s very encouraging to get a letter like that–a sort of, “Hey, here’s an unexpected thanks for what you do.” I actually still have that letter in my letter collection.
On the flip side, when you write these letters you’ll be more apt to remember the incidents. Someone gave you a book or just a kind gesture? When you write it down, it will stick with you. I think that the glow of writing it stays even after you forget.
Besides, this is a great way to share the good feelings and build relationships!
2. Gratitude Jar
We’ve all seen this floating around Pinterest and Facebook for the past while. You get a mason jar (or another vintage-y hipster glass bottle) and throughout the year you’re supposed to write little notes about good things that have happened. At the end of the year, you pull all the paper out and read through it to remind yourself.
I tried this for 2015, and either I’m just terrible at gratitude or else the jar needs to sit somewhere more prominent, because mine is only half-full. This is easy to forget on a daily basis, which means if it’s not in your face you won’t think about it. I did sit down after several bursts of good stuff and do little marathons of gratitude, but not a whole lot of day-to-day scribbling. Definitely work the system to make it function for you.
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal or Do a Blog Series
Doing a short challenge really helps me focus on consistently working through a topic (like gratitude, in this instance). If you’re already keeping a journal, go ahead and add a half page of gratitude to your daily entries. If you don’t have a journal, make a gratitude journal and stick it by your bed to pen a few lines every nice. If you hate journals and dear God why do I insist on killing trees then take to Ye Olde Blog. Blogs can be a great way to record these things, because peer pressure will make you feel like you have to update regularly. (Downside: Some of your friends might give you the squinty eye if you harp on about your amazing cat for thirty days straight.)
There are a lot of lists out there for this, including the Gratitude Challenge. Browse the web to find one to work for you.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!