The Secret to Feeling True Gratitude

With Thanksgiving this week, gratitude is a topic on many people's minds. Learn a simple strategy to feel true and deep gratitude. 

Secret to feeling true gratitude

Secret to feeling true gratitude

Today I'm taking a break from stuffing and turkey to talk about the most important part of Thanksgiving. Not mac and cheese you silly goose (although that's up there). We're talking gratitude today and I'll be sharing my simple trick for nurturing a sense of gratitude you feel deep in your core.

Last month, when I decided to start a habit of taking daily steps towards nourishing my soul, I started keeping a daily gratitude journal. Each day, I would jot down 3-5 things I felt grateful for.

One day when we were in France, we visited the ruins of an ancient castle right before the sun was about to set. The setting sun set a golden light on the incredible ruins and surrounding valley, making a truly stunning and unforgettable sight.

When I was journaling at night, I jotted down "I am grateful for a beautiful visit to the castle." But as I sat back and looked at those words, I realized it didn't really convey how truly special and blessed I felt for having that experience.

That's when I got an idea. Instead of simply making a list, I wrote a short paragraph about that visit and what specifically I felt grateful for. I wrote about how grateful I felt for being there at exactly the right time. I wrote about how I felt grateful for strong and healthy knees that carried me up the rickety and steep spiral staircase to the top of the turret, where I was blessed with a magnificent view of the surrounding valley. I also wrote about my gratitude for being able to share that experience with my family.

As I wrote this down, my eyes teared. I truly sensed the gratitude that moment deserved. The uniqueness of the experience hit me and I understood how truly blessed I was for being able to live it.

So, I made this a habit. Each day, instead of listing what I felt grateful for, I meditated on one thing and wrote a short paragraph. And each day as I wrote this paragraph, I was hit by a profound sense of gratitude, no matter how small a thing it was.

A couple days ago I stumbled across this video from Marie Forleo.  In it, she discusses the work of a researcher who specializes in studying gratitude. In one study on gratitude journaling, he compared a group who got specific with one item to people who simply made general list. He found a greater sense of happiness and even alertness among those who wrote a few specific sentences. I love it I come up with something that turns out to be evidence based! <--- science nerd here.

Gratitude is a deep sense of appreciation, something that fills you with joy and emotion. It's more than saying thank you or listing things that you have that others don't. Gratitude should truly move you to the core. When you feel a true sense of gratitude, it changes your actions. You'll treat others with more kindness and empathy, you'll take full advantage of the opportunities and moments your blessed with. When you truly feel grateful for the food on your plate, you'll eat more joyfully, and probably pick more nourishing foods as well.

Grateful for this view from Taylor Mounting...and grateful for not passing out on the way up!

On Thanksgiving, many families have the tradition of each person listing something they feel grateful for before dinner. I challenge you to explore gratitude in a new way. Give each person a little time to not only list what they are grateful for, but to get specific on why. It doesn't need to be a drawn out speech, but take a minute or two. And while we're at it, why not start a new habit this Thanksgiving and start a gratitude journal. You'll be grateful you did it :)

This Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful to you, my lovely readers and beautiful clients! Thank you for your support, emails, comments that inspire me daily. I truly appreciate every little bit of feedback I get. And to my clients, thank you for inviting me to come along with you on your journey to wellness. You all are amazingly strong individuals and I feel blessed to play a role in your life!

Happy Thanksgiving!