Did you ever feel like you should be happier than you were? I felt like that. My life was good and yet the slog of bill paying, dish washing, and all the other administrative tasks that make our lives work got me down. But I kept thinking, “this is the good life, shouldn’t I be enjoying it more?”
Soon I started hearing more about the benefits of having a gratitude practice. The experts said it would change your brain, it will make you happier, and it is a good thing to do. So I tried it. And I have had a gratitude practice for a couple of years now, and I am happier because of it.
Since the Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us, I am sharing what I’m grateful for about living and working in the association community.
- I am grateful for all of the amazing, friendly, and thoughtful professionals I have met and continue to meet.
- I am grateful for the partnerships I have joined this year and the great work we are doing because of these partnerships.
- I am grateful for the work I do. I enjoy the research, writing, and speaking.
- I am grateful that my work takes me to interesting places from friendly Ottawa, Canada to beautiful Portland, Oregon and even to hurricane-ravaged Marco Island, Florida.
- I am grateful that you read this blog! Your reading enables me to keep writing. Thank you.
One of the things that kept me from adopting a gratitude practice earlier is I didn’t know what to do. Some folks said they journaled for an hour early each morning (too time-consuming). Some said they recounted what they were thankful for everytime they stood in line (I would forget to do it). Finally, after doing some research, I found two methods that work for me.
Every day, I recount, in my mind, three things I am most grateful for that day. These moments of reflection usually take about 2-5 minutes, and I remember to do this each day because it is set up as a daily recurring appointment on my calendar. Every week on Friday, I use Tim Ferris’s journaling method where I write down:
- 3 great things that happened that week
- 3 things I am grateful for
- 3 things I could have done better
The weekly journaling usually takes about 10 minutes, and I have a written record to refer to. I noticed often mentioned opportunities for improvement in the things I could have done better category so I can work on those things.
Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving wherever you are in the world!