The definition of gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is certainly a word that comes up often over the holidays. We say it and hear it often but do you ever really think about what it means and how to live life with gratitude?

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. Gratitude helps to change your focus – instead of looking at what you want, you look at all that you have. Research has shown that one’s life can improve greatly from the practice of gratitude. Small gestures of thanks can actually make people feel more content – happier with where they are in their lives. People who practice gratitude usually have less stress levels and are generally happier than those who do not.

There are many ways to show gratitude, but often it helps by actively finding ways to “practice” gratitude. Often, the simple task of being aware makes one realize how easy it is to be grateful and how much better it makes them feel.

Many people suggest keeping a daily gratitude journal really helps get one started in being aware of things around them. This is a simple exercise that basically consists of writing a list of a few things that you are grateful for. You can do it anytime of day, but just the act of having to think about things and writing them down makes it seem more real.

Another way to make one more aware is to implement a set amount of days that you promise yourself to go without gossiping, complaining or being critical of others (or yourself). This helps you stop the negative voice inside of you and inside think positive thoughts.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and I believe it is the perfect day to practice gratitude. This year, I am tasking my family to treat Thanksgiving like New Year’s and make a resolution – to practice gratitude on a daily basis and be thankful for all they have. I dare you to make the Thanksgiving resolution – I guarantee it will be one of your best holiday seasons ever!

Happy Thanksgiving!