The month of November is the month of gratitude in the Schneider house! I mean it makes sense… THANKSgiving is in November. It just seemed like a natural fit to really emphasize the importance of daily appreciations and gratitude in our lives. During this time our family comes together and we discuss what we each appreciate about our lives and the people in them. Plus, it’s a nice time to connect as a family.
With that being said, I have to admit that I TOTALLY forgot about our special month of gratitude until this morning when I was in the shower! I have been sooooo busy lately; it just escaped me. So throwing perfectionism aside, we started today in the car on the way to school. There were no cute little gratitude books to jot down our three appreciations. Dad was at home working. BUT, us girls made the time to all say out loud one thing we were appreciated before school.
So for all you perfectionists, all of you “all-or-nothing”ers, 27 days of gratitude is better than 0!! You can totally start today. OR tomorrow. 26 days “ain’t” bad either. The point is dooooo it!!! Cultivate gratitude. Set time aside to nourish your soul with gratitude!
Here’s what the Science says about Gratitude
The research says gratitude is soul nourishing. Well, maybe not exactly in those words. But that’s my take-away 😉 from a 2002 study that did explicitly state “gratitude is also likely to build and strengthen a sense of spirituality.”
Gratitude is soul nourishing and a nourished soul leads to a nourished body.
In an experimental comparison, undergraduate participants were given packets with 10 weekly reports. Each participant was to complete the given report. Here’s the results.
Group 1 instructions: focus on gratitude
Instructions: “There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for.”
Answers: They were ALL over the place. Here’s a few highlighted in the study: “waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “ to God for giving me determination,” “for wonderful parents,” “to the Lord for just another day,” and “to the Rolling Stones.”
GROUP 2 INSTRUCTIONS: FOCUS ON hassles
Instructions: “Hassles are irritants—things that annoy or bother you. They occur in various domains of life, including relationships, work, school, housing, finances, health, and so forth. Think back over today and, on the lines below, list up to five hassles that occurred in your life.”
Answers: These hassles definitely reminded me of my college days! Here’s a few highlighted in the study: “hard to find parking,” “messy kitchen no one will clean,” “finances depleting quickly,” “having a horrible test in health psychology,” “stupid people driving,” and “doing a favor for friend who didn’t appreciate it.”
GROUP 3 INSTRUCTIONS: Neutral group
Instructions: “What were some of the events or circumstances that affected you in the past week? Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below the five events that had an impact on you.”
Answers: “talked to a doctor about medical school,” “learned CPR,” “cleaned out my shoe closet,” “flew back to Sacramento,” and “attended Whole Earth Festival.”
Subsequent coding of these events as positive, negative, or neutral revealed that 40% were rated as pleasant, 30% as unpleasant, and 30% as neutral.
Those participants in Group 1 who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis experienced the following:
- Exercised more regularly
- Reported fewer physical symptoms
- Felt better about their lives as a whole
- Were more optimistic about the upcoming week
Bottom line: “do” gratitude
“There are MANY things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be GRATEFUL about.” While having a grateful spirit is the foundation of gratitude, we must DO gratitude.
Every day for the month of November write down five things or MORE in your life that you are grateful or thankful for. See what bubbles up. Note how you feel each day after completing your gratitude exercise.
Need a cute gratitude journal to get started? I whipped one up in a hurry and it’s the NourishYourLife.org’s Printables. And if you just can’t set aside the perfectionism and “start today”… go back and do the first 3 days!
Always with you, Sarah
Comment Below! I would love to hear what bubbles up for you… tell me what you are grateful for! Let’s see how many things we are grateful for collectively.