There is a great deal of entitlement in our culture. Daily, we are reminded as to what we deserve. Humility seems to be a lost character trait in a celebrity culture. So how can you intentionally develop an attitude of gratitude?
Try these ideas every day, not just at Thanksgiving.
1) Write down 3 things for which you are grateful. They don’t have to be big things. For example, I am grateful for a warm bed every night. I am grateful for kind neighbors. I am grateful for children who do their best at school, etc. Writing reinforces your thoughts and requires an intentional act to get it on paper.
2) Throughout your day, rehearse your blessings mentally. For example, I was walking the dog and the sunset was stunning. I paused, thanked God for the beauty of His creation. Or the other day, I swerved away from a car that almost hit me and I thanked God for His protection. There are many small opportunities every day to be thankful. Rehearse them in your mind.
3) Tell people what you are grateful for in your life. When you speak out words of thanks, it improves your mood, strengthens your immune system, lowers blood pressure and makes you more compassion. Their is power in words of thanks. Tell one person each day something for which you are grateful. You will also find that people like to be around those who are positive.
4) Create a gratitude box in your home. Have family members contribute to it regularly. Then, after a meal, pull out a few of the notes and read them as a family. This exercise teaches children and adults to be intentional about their blessings. I remember an old hymn we used to sing in church that said, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.” This is one way to do that!
Finally, Scripture admonishes us to give thanks:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; his love endure forever (Psalm 118:1)
And whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17 ESV)
Like anything, the more you practice, the habitual it will become!