As I reflect on this past year, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. To be honest, this has been the hardest year of my life with so many changes happening at once. Anxiety, depression, health issues, divorce, new job, new income, and a new housing situation have all come together in one whirlwind and brought my year with many struggles that I don’t think anyone should endure at once. That alone is overwhelming, but instead of living with regret or self-pity, I choose joy. The very act of being thankful regardless of the circumstances can easily rid your life with of negativity that attempts to bring you down. We have so much to be thankful for, my friends.
Today I challenge you, to take your gratitude beyond Thanksgiving and the holiday season and begin being more intentional about giving thanks all year. I’ve gathered some of my favorite ways to practice gratitude, but I’d love for you to contribute and share your ideas as well!
1. Appreciate someone.
In my opinion, we can never do this enough. Ultimately, I want my loved ones to know that I am thankful for them. The simplest “thank you” can mean the world to someone. My friends, I am thankful for you. Thank you for continuing to support me since I began my blogging journey. Thank you for your loving comments and words of encouragement. I feel so loved by you all and I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you! Thank you!
*Challenge: Say thank you and treat a friend to coffee next week. That $5 is just a simple thing you can do for something to show how much you appreciate them and goes a long way. We all need more gratitude in this world!
2. Write a thank you card.
If you read my birthday article, 26 things I’ve learned in 26 years, you may have noticed that I’ve learned, “Nothing can beat the power of a thank you card.” In my opinion, thank you cards aren’t given enough and seem to have lost value due to how easily we can send an e-mail or a text to say the very same thing. However, there is a special joy that comes from putting pen to paper and expressing gratitude through a handwritten card. It’s not only fulfilling to receive one but also to give. I started this challenge for myself a few weeks ago, and found myself enjoying it so much I’ve already written five!
3. Collect moments, not things.
Personally, I am a big of “things — chic things, silly things, cute things, and girly things too. I even love shopping and getting good deals on amazing things. What I am not a fan of is when these things get in the way of appreciating my everyday life and to be honest, I feel like they can all too often. I am very grateful for everything that I have and choose not to be a person always in need or want of more things. When we choose to value a moment and cherish memories, the joy that comes from that experience is authentic and long-lasting. I am blessed with many things, and instead of seeking more, I want to cherish the people in this world and not the things that fill it.
4. Keep a gratitude journal.
I recently just won a copy of the book 52 Lists for Happiness and I’m so thankful that I did because of the impact it has already made on my life. Not only is the book beautiful itself, but it has allowed me to reflect on the things that bring me joy and encourage me to do more of it.
Here are some simple things that bring me joy:
- The smell of rain
- Making people smile
- The dedicated readers to my blog
- Hiking in the lush green mountains of the Pacific Northwest
- Receiving a compliment
- Learning new things
- My community and friendships with other amazing bloggers
- Chai tea lattes
- Sleeping in freshly washed sheets
- Playing the piano
- A clean home
- Knowing that I might inspire even one person through my writing
*Challenge: Get a journal (or simply keep a running list on your phone) and every day before you go to bed write down one thing you’re thankful for. Awareness changes things. The more you do this, you will begin to notice a change in the depth of your gratitude. You will begin to notice the little things we have to be grateful for in every day.
5. Tell yourself, “I choose joy.”
The practice of saying this phrase out loud is a powerful concept. I began practicing this lately, and it’s been my own way to cope with all the stress. To me, it’s a reminder that the joy in your life is not based on external circumstances. Just because life can be exceptionally difficult doesn’t mean that joy can not be present in your life. In fact, the most powerful times of joy in my life came from periods where joy was a real and honest choice.
Join this amazing community of readers from around the world and you’ll discover that Style Miss Molly is much more than pretty pictures. I promise I’ll try my best to bring a smile to your face!
You can find me on Pinterest to see things that “pin-spire” me, Twitter to learn more about what makes me smile, and of course, Facebook because let’s face it, I’m on it too much, and Instagram, which is basically my favorite place to hang out with you all! “See” you there!
Sweater: Ivory Lace up Sweater — $48
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Photo Credit // Samantha Weissbach Photography