Gratitude for Our Harvest

Practice gratitude this season and notice how doing so can bring more joy and well being into your heart and your life. This practice will naturally expand into other acts of generosity and kindness, towards others as well as for yourself. Research shows that practicing gratitude makes us happier and increases

positive emotions.

Here are some of my favorite gratitude-enhancing activities.

Try them and see which work best for you!

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Every night write down three things you’re grateful for from that day. They can be simple gifts and appreciations of the day or big meaningful events that occurred. Include information about what made each one meaningful to you. Go over the three gratitudes in your mind as you go off to sleep.  Experiment with doing this one or two nights a week. This way you’re more likely to keep it up. And the research shows that doing it less frequently but over the long term gives you a more sustainable boost to feeling good.
  • Keep a gratitude journal with your partner and each day write down what you appreciate in that person, what you are grateful for in them. At the end of the day, share what you each wrote with each other. Or do this verbally at night before you go to sleep.
  • Practice a body gratitude meditation.  Scan through your body, being grateful for the miracle of your body and how well it works. Focus on what parts you are most grateful for. These may be parts that you normally take for granted. It’s easy to complain about what’s not working well. Try this as you’re falling off to sleep or when you first awaken, before getting out of bed.
  • Throughout the day, be aware of opportunities to express gratitude to people you encounter, friends, family, the cashier at the grocery store.
  • In your emails to people, practice your expression of gratitude for a funny email they sent you that you enjoyed or some helpful information.
  • Dedicate this moment  (developed by M.J Ryan)
  • When you are having a joyful or meaningful experience, send some of the good energy from this experience out to others who need it; friends and family, those suffering in the world, anyone who comes to mind that could benefit from it. Acknowledge your gratitude for your great experience and expand that by sharing the energy of it with others.
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone from your past or present life, expressing your appreciation for them and how they impacted your life in a positive and meaningful way. Send a card to a friend just to let them know how much they mean to you not just for a birthday or special occasion.
  • Make art that expresses your gratitude. Dance, paint, sing, write.

I feel a great deal of pleasure and gratitude in taking photos of flowers, trees, leaves, and birds, etc. It reminds me of how blessed I am for being surrounded by all these wonderful living things. It connects me to the earth and to the many details of nature that are sometimes easy to overlook. Later the photos help me to savor the experience, which in turn increases my gratitude for the simple beauty and abundance all around me. Sometimes I create gratitude collages using my photos along with other art materials.

In the How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky says that in order to sustain the benefits of practicing a happiness-enhancing activity, it’s important to build in variety and social support. Experiment with doing different things different times of the day or week. Whatever gratitude practices you engage in, it’s good to keep them fresh by shaking it up. This might mean writing your blessing down one week in the evening, sharing your gratitude directly with your friends or your partner another week, dancing or painting your expression of gratitude another time. Explore what feels best and keeps it fresh for you.

There are endless possibilities that you can create to express gratitude. Notice how you feel when you practice gratitude on a regular basis. Notice how people respond and how it impacts your relationships.

Waking up this morning, I see the blue sky. I join my hands in thanks for the many wonders of life; For having twenty-four brand new hours before me.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.

-Kahlil Gibran


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