How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

thank-you-490607_1920As we roll into the (U.S) Thanksgiving week, we all know what's coming: eating so much we can't move, your vocal aunt getting drunk before the potatoes are finished, and football for DAYS. Between the flurry of family and the food coma, there's one tradition that many people take part in: expressing gratitude for the abundance on the table and in their lives.

But if you only express your gratitude once a year, the pressure is ON to come up with something good. I mean, this is your ONE chance to get it right, so you better, right?

Not really. Take the pressure off by cultivating an attitude of gratitude year-round. Here are some ideas to get you started.

3 Ways to Grow Your Gratitude Year-Round

1. Look for the little things

You don't have to win the lottery or kick the pants out of cancer to be extremely grateful. Taking a moment out of your day to appreciate the sunlight through the trees or a really, really good bite of chocolate cake works your gratitude muscle just as well as appreciating the big stuff.

2. Say "thank you" as often as you can

You can say it to people when they help you out or give you some good feedback. You can say it to your spouse for loving you. Heck, you can say "thank you" with each step you take! Just saying the words gets them into your head and the feeling into your heart.

3. Find the lessons in your failures

Even when things go horribly, spectacularly wrong or in the opposite direction of where you wanted to go, you can express gratitude. Did you learn something from the experience? Be grateful for the lesson.

Jack Canfield calls this "becoming an inverse paranoid." Instead of believing that a failure is a setback, you can choose, instead, to believe that your Higher Power of choice has your back and is, in fact, directing you towards your greater destiny. And for THAT, you can say thanks.

22 Little Things You Can Be Grateful For Today

  1. You woke up this morning
  2. You have a comfortable bed
  3. You have a roof over your head (even if it's not yours)
  4. You took a breath
  5. You can see
  6. You have electricity
  7. You have Internet access
  8. You have running water (hopefully hot!)
  9. You have a cup of coffee or tea
  10. You have a means of support (e.g. your job, working spouse, supportive parent, savings, credit cards, and/or a generous overdraft)
  11. You're not drowning
  12. The earth hasn't burned to a crisp
  13. The magnetic poles are still (mostly) where they're supposed to be
  14. You have a toilet
  15. You can get outside for some fresh air
  16. Amazon delivers on Sundays!
  17. Netflix.
  18. You haven't frozen to death
  19. They no longer burn witches at the stake
  20. Vampires aren't real
  21. Zombies aren't real
  22. Right now, in this moment, you are perfectly okay

A challenge

Take a moment to make your own list of things for which to be grateful.

Maybe you have an amazing spouse or beautiful children or a charming home.

Perhaps you've learned a new language or had a delicious meal recently or have baller china that you never use.

You might be single and free while gainfully employed with some cool people. Or you might have a job that send you to interesting places and puts you up in the Ritz on the reg.

Got your list? Awesome. Feel free to add your Things For Which to be Grateful in the comments below!