November is often known as the month of gratitude. I love the idea of a month to really focus in on what we’re thankful for, and research shows that practicing gratitude has all sorts of great benefits for us. However, practicing gratitude feels unnatural to me when I have to set an alarm to remember to be thankful or make writing in a gratitude journal an item on my to do list.
One way of practicing gratitude that works for me is letting myself be unreasonably grateful for the tiny things that make me happy, and letting that burst of joy grow into reminding me of the bigger picture. It’s taking tiny things and turning them into gigantic gratitude.
Two examples come readily to mind when I think of how this practice occurs in my daily life:
- At work I have a box cutter at my desk that I use to open packages and cut apart boxes to take to recycling. This simple box cutter is not fancy or pretty, but it makes a common task - opening and flattening boxes - so much easier. It’s so efficient! It saves time! It saves effort!
It sounds so silly, but whenever I use it I think, “What a great day! I get to use my box cutter!” I then think about how much easier it’s making my day, and how much I enjoy even the hardest days at the office, and how thankful I am that I actually like my job.
Using a $2.00 box cutter makes me thankful for my job.
- I have plants all over our house, and even though I see them everyday they never lose their luster. Despite my failure at keeping a garden, I love to tend to my house plants. It always reminds me of my grandma, who loves to garden.
My husband and I very blessed to have seven of our eight grandparents still living. Not only are they still with us, but they’re healthy and active. My husband and his grandpa are like two peas in a pod. We’re so so lucky to have these relationships. They’re so unique and we both have such great memories with our grandparents. In fact, my grandma is one of my best friends.
When I water my plants I’m often overcome with gratitude for my relationship with my grandma.
I don’t really know how this “tiny things, gigantic gratitude” started, but it’s a habit that’s stuck. I don’t write anything down, or have any record of these moments, but they make a big difference. It’s nice when the small joys make a realize the things that are a big deal in our lives, like a fulfilling job or a special relationship.
Questions: What are you grateful for this November? How do you practice gratitude in your daily life? What small things make you massively happy?