Give thanks and receive so much more.
It’s been said that the master prayer is one of gratitude. And in times like these, we couldn’t agree more. The fact that we are still breathing and moving towards health, happiness and abundance is reason enough to say thank you. That we are surrounded by beauty, friends and family, and the liberty to pursue our dreams is astounding. When we combine gratitude with a feeling of celebration, we experience the glory of a great attitude and, in doing so, unlock the secrets of the universe. We are able to see more, listen better and grow more engaged with life itself. There are many ways to say thank you and celebrate life; here are a few to try this month, and some inspired words to light your way.
GIVE THANKS WITH YOUR ATTENTION
1. If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. –Meister Eckhart
Light your day with prayer, all day every day. Practice whispering thank you for everything that comes your way, including those things (or people!) that may bring stress or pain.
2. I thank you God for most this amazing day; for the leaping, greenly spirit of the trees and a blue dream of sky. –e.e. Cummings
Own your day and, before your feet hit the ground, give thanks for the life you have been given to live. Before you fall asleep at night journal about three things that you are grateful for that happened during your day.
3. I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks. –William Shakespeare
When something unexpected lands on your plate, it is very easy to get overwhelmed or distracted from your purpose or goals. This is not the only path. Instead of getting frustrated, see the impediment as a simple reminder of what really matters. Thank it for showing up in your life and reminding you that you have more important things to do—then quickly deal with it, delegate it or delete it from your awareness.
4. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou
The most valuable thing you can give to someone is your devoted (note: this does not say distracted) attention and energy. This is priceless in a tech-focused, over-committed society. Spending quality time with someone inherently means you value them, and is a way to say thank you that is a mutually beneficial experience.
5. God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you!? –William Arthur Ward
The ultimate thank you for your life is to use every precious moment of it well. Are you living truthfully, doing your best, moving forward toward your dream and fulfilling your potential? Are you aware of what your purpose is as it relates to your life experience? These are the big questions against which we ultimately must measure our time. They are hard, but they must be asked.
6. Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives that we touch. –Judy Blume
What if you died tomorrow; do you have your affairs in order? Would your loved ones have a full understanding of how you felt about them? What legacy would you leave for those you leave behind? Write a letter to each person that matters to you in your life. Set your affairs straight and do some “death cleaning.” Your family will be grateful on so many levels should something sudden and tragic happen.
GIVE THANKS WITH SOMETHING SPECIAL
7. We learned about gratitude and humility—that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean … and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect. –Michelle Obama
There are so many whose hidden work conspire to make our lives possible. And they are often those who get the least recognition or acknowledgment. Disrupt the status quo and leave a gift card for the janitor or the garbage men who serve you day in and day out.
8. Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe. –Wayne Dyer
If you look for the good in people, you will find it. Today, when it happens, call it out and give the person a small surprise gift—a flower, a gift card for a cup of coffee or maybe your favorite book—some small item to add value or pleasure. It is less about the what and more about the why.
9. Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. –Henry Ward Beecher
It is a special feeling to receive a bouquet of flowers or a vibrant plant in honor of a special occasion. It is even nicer when there is no obvious reason, except the expression of admiration, gratitude or love. Pick one person each month and add some beauty into their life by delivering an amazing display of flowers, and watch their eyes light up like fireworks.
10. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. –Carl Jung
Where would we be if not for those who have dedicated their lives to educating generations to come? Say thank you to a teacher by sponsoring their school supplies, donating books, joining the PTA, hosting a club, coaching athletics or teaching your craft at the community college. When one learns, we all benefit.
11. I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. –Brené Brown
When someone does something extraordinary for us, we are typically prompted to give thanks and go out of our way to do so. Yet there are so many ordinary moments in our life that create the fabric of our experience that we often don’t even notice unless they are disrupted and taken away suddenly. What are these things for you? What day-to-day events or moments add the most value in your life, and is there a person or group of people who make them happen? Take 15 minutes and journal about the magic in your day, and the next time you experience that special moment, pause, drink it into your consciousness and say thank you.
GIVE THANKS WITH YOUR TIME
12. Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot. –Housa
Cook someone a meal and serve it to them. Find out their favorite foods and plan a meal and a wonderful conversation. It is far more satisfying to share a meal than to consume one on the run or alone in front of a television.
13. I feel a very unusual sensation—if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude. –Benjamin Disraeli
Can you imagine not knowing where your next meal will come from? This is far too prevalent in our society, but we can make a difference. Once a month, or week, or at whatever cadence that you can, serve in a soup kitchen or prepare a meal for a local shelter. If you cannot make the time, then sponsor meals or do fundraising. Anyone living in a modern society should not struggle with finding a meal—there is no excuse.
14. Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things, like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. –Joseph B. Wirthlin
There is something about a mom’s chicken soup or grandma’s amazing cookies. Ask for the recipe and then return the gift to them, or someone in your family, or friends that understand the shared experience. How delicious will it be to see their face and hear the emotion in their voice when they understand that you will carry on the tradition of nourishment made with love?
15. You gave me your time, the most thoughtful gift of all. –Dan Sadra
Our time and attention are our greatest currency. Most, if not all, of us can think of at least one person who dedicated much of his or her life to making ours better. Whether that person is a parent, a teacher, a sister, a business mentor, a friend or even a pet, what could you do to honor the role they played in your life? Could you record a thank you video for them on your phone, take them to lunch and give them a speech in their honor, or make a donation to a charity in their honor to pay it forward? Giving back to those who gave to you pays sweet dividends.
16. I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful—for all of it. –Kristin Armstrong
It sounds crazy to say thank you for the hard times, the tragedies and the failures that we encounter in our lives. Yet so many people have shared that these are defining moments that changed the trajectory of their lives. How have you made lemonade out of lemons in your life? How has your past led to the person you have become today? Find a friend and share this story, or be brave and write about it and share on social media!
GIVE THANKS WITH SERVICE
17. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. –John F. Kennedy
It has been said that we sleep at night because the men and women of our military guard our borders to keep us safe. Regardless of one’s political alliances, our liberty and our safety are extended to us by the service of others. Give thanks by giving back to our veterans. Support their families, help them find jobs and give them the respect they deserve for the sacrifices made on our behalf.
18. A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. –Joseph Campbell
Make something so great that they will talk about you on the other side of the world. You demonstrate gratitude for your abilities, talents and gifts by sharing them with others. Maybe you are obsessed with dance or building tree forts—whatever it is, build mastery and a body of knowledge that comes from your deep experience and then write it down and give it away for others to learn in their own time.
19. At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. –Albert Schweitzer
Have you ever considered the silent mentors in your life? The authors, coaches, neighbors, preachers, singers, actors and friends and family whose advice you have integrated into your life. We can even be moved by someone we have never met. If this is true for you, write them a letter. Or, if you know them, give them a call and share the impact that they have had on the way you think or show up in the world. This brings the learning full circle.
20. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. –Mark Twain
Random acts of kindness make the world a better place. Extend your gratitude in confidence and do something for someone who has been kind to you without their knowledge.
21. There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark. –Helen Keller
We are blessed to live in a country with many benefits and a solid quality of life. There is much to improve for many, no doubt, and just as many opportunities to do so. Express your gratitude for the abundance in your life by sharing it with others that may not have the same fortune. If your abundance is in health—then teach someone what you know. If you have income to share, help someone get a new wardrobe for a job. If your abundance is in time, volunteer to help build a community garden.
22. Gratitude is appreciation that has finally struck the heart. –Brendon Burchard
To feel more thanks is a conscious act—it takes action to wake up and look around your life, to understand the blessings that you have every day. Stop, take inventory. Write down 100 blessings in your life. It sounds hard; it sounds indulgent. Just do it at least once. In a world full of bad news, it is alchemical to understand in context the abundance and goodness that surrounds you. You will instantly feel better and understand the power you have in your life.
23. Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. –Brian Tracy
Gratitude is a practice. Giving thanks instead of complaining is a skill and a muscle that we develop as we employ it and make it part of our character. If you wish to lead an extraordinary life, then this is the starting line. There is no forward motion without mastery of one’s own mind. Shift your mindset today, and challenge yourself to establish your own ways to give thanks in your world. Be stealthy about it; just start and carry on, knowing that in time, your life will be utterly transformed.
24. Write your own thoughts on gratitude here.
Gratitude does not require a state of mind. But it’s a daily acknowledgment that can change your mind in the moment. What practice can you create, for you?
Photography: Paff, Stocksy; Jupiterimages, Thinkstock; arianarama, Adobe Stock; diliananikolova, Thinkstock; Monkey Business, Adobe Stock