Most Americans recognize November for pretty leaves, crisp air, time change, and, yes, Thanksgiving. There are quite a lot of challenges floating around, asking people to think of people, things, experiences, etc. for they are grateful. This is a wonderful concept, but not as easy as one may think. In my work with clients, I sometimes, invite them to wake up each morning and write down just one think they are grateful for, allowing the rest of the day for processing. This interventions varies in time: one week to 30 days. More times than not, clients report struggling to come up with more than the immediate few ideas (family, health, partner, child, job, etc.). My challenge for this month is to go deeper than just the easy, somewhat superficial, ideas of gratefulness and thankfulness. Open yourself up to identifying and experiencing gratefulness in a way that energizes and invigorates you; gives you the strength and motivation to start an amazing day, power through a tough day, and feel satisfied at the end of any day. So often, our minds take us to the negative places far quicker and easier than the positive. This is due to lived experiences, socialization, and sometimes clinical obstacles. We can easily get stuck in thinking about all the things that need to be fixed, different, better, or even eliminated. Challenge yourself to be thankful for even the most challenging experiences in life. They can be paths for growth and understanding, or provide some other benefit for you, whether abstract or concrete.
Take a moment to read this article by leading researcher on gratitude, Robert Emmons.