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November 27, 2014

Things I Love Thursday: 5 Gratitude Activities You Can Use Year Round

Antique Thanksgiving card
Image from Antique Images

    Thanksgiving can be a great holiday.  It is a day set aside to be with our families and be grateful for what we have.  Some people I know have been critical of Thanksgiving because they think we should be grateful year round rather than for one day out of the year.  And they have a point.  We should be grateful year round.  It's a great thing. Today I'd like to talk about being thankful.  It is a very healthy practice.  Taking account of what we are thankful for can brighten our moods and help us stay positive in everyday situations as well as less than ideal situations.  Gratitude can be a tool for us to move forward in our goals and life.  Here are 5 ideas and activities for practicing thankfulness all year round.

#1 Gratitude Lists


I must credit Gala Darling with this one.  Writing a weekly gratitude list and posting it as Things I Love Thursday is something I picked up from her wonderful blog.  You do not have to post the list for everyone to see though.  You could add it to a personal journal or diary.  You could share it with a select group of friends.  You can set aside time each week to write it. Or you could add to it all week long and look over it on a selected day of the week.  This exercise was very powerful for me.  As the weeks pressed on of doing it I found my mood slowly improving.  Now I more readily see the bright side even if I still see the darkness too.  The difference is that the darkness does not cause me to lose sight of the the light.  

#2 Memory Jars 


This is an idea that was suggested by a friend at a New Years Eve party.  You get a jar (or some other suitable container) and throughout the year as wonderful things happen you write them down on little pieces of paper and slip them into your jar.  Then at the end of the year (or as you need an emotional boost throughout the year) you open it up and read through some or all of your memories.  This is also a great activity if you have a group you normally spend new years with or alternatively Thanksgiving.  If you want to make a party activity out of this one collect enough jars for all the guests or ask that everyone find a jar they like.  Then one year set everyone to the challenge and get back together to share a year later and start again with new jars.  

#3 Family (or Household) Thankful Jars 


This one is good for if you have roommates or live with your family.  Get a jar or piggy bank or some other suitable container.  Decorate it as a household and put it somewhere everyone can get to.  Put a stack of post-its or small sheets of paper next to it with a pencil.  When someone in the home is happy about something or has something that they are thankful for they can write on one of the sheets and place it in the container.  You can put your names on them or do it anonymously.  Then depending on how frequently you like you can open the jar as a group and read some of the notes.  This could be a great activity for teaching children about being thankful and seeing the good in life. 

#4 Snail Mail and Pen Pals


This one can be great if you have out of town friends.  And who doesn't love snail mail that isn't bills or junk mail trying to convince you that you should replace all the furniture in your living room.  It can be as simple or as complex as you like.  Agree with a friend to write each other and in the letters to talk about some of the highlights of your life or the little things that make you smile.  You could even get writing activities to share with each other and send each other your response to the activities.  Snail mail is fun and leaves lots of room for personalization.  Stationery, envelopes, stickers, or wax seals.  You can decorate them to your hearts content.  And what's better than waiting to read your friends letter?  


#5 Radical Self-Love Bibles


This is another one I must attribute to Gala Darling.  It is a personal journal or scrapbook of images, lists, and activities that make you happy and remind you to love yourself and be positive.  it doesn’t have to be complex or expensive.  You can use a composition book or a spiral note book.  Or you can use a nice sketch book.  The idea is to make it your own.  

Things I Love Thursday

    And now onto the Things I Loved this week! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Spending time with friends that I can confide in, play games with, dance with, talk with.  Even if each person can't do all those things and more with you.  There are different kinds of friendships and I am happy to have so many great friends.  
  • Music
  • Speaking of music here are the 8tracks for this week:  
  • Supportive coworkers
  • Going on a road trip with friends to see Amanda Palmer
  • Meeting other non-binary gender people 
  • Meeting all sorts of people and chatting and hanging out in line as though we have been great friends for years.  It was such a great environment at the signing Monday.  
  • Snagging a copy of a book I had wanted
  • Getting a signed copy of Amanda Palmer's book The Art of Asking.  
  • And a hug!!!!
  • Tasty foods
  • Great conversations
  • Well needed sleep
  • Bike rides
  • Having finally acclimated to the cold weather this year.  
  • Tea, hot cocoa, apple cider, Chai! :D
  • Having fun
  • Stars
  • Science
  • Being alive
  • Savoring 
  • Meditating on things

    There are plenty of things I am grateful for.  Remembering them and taking time to appreciate and share them fills me with warmth (or maybe that is just the tea I am drinking ;) )  Try being more grateful.  Be sure to jot it down or actually write about it.  You will feel tons better. Happy Thanksgiving!

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