I spend a lot of time being thankful for all of the good things in my life, and as the weather gets cooler and the pumpkins start showing up everywhere, I find myself feeling even more thankful for everything in my life.
I’ve been very open about my struggles lately, and one of the best ways that I’ve found to navigate through difficult times is to be thankful for all of the positive things.
I know it’s not the holiday season yet, but I’m starting early with thankfulness this year. I want to make a positive impact on the people around me too, so I’m getting a head start now. Here’s a list of things that I plan to do to take the focus off of me and to affect people positively over the next few months:
- Write a letter to someone on paper or a card, put a stamp on it and mail it. I love sending and receiving letters and cards in the mail, and one thing that I’m thankful for is that I have friends who enjoy sending cards and thoughtful little gifts.
- Spend time with someone who may not love this time of year. I love the holidays, but there are people who don’t feel that way. Sometimes the holidays remind us of people we’ve lost and/or people who won’t be here to celebrate with us.
- Spend the afternoon (or at least a couple of hours) in a coffee shop or bookstore simply to enjoy the surroundings. I do this a lot, but I still wish I did it more often. I’ve met some awesome people who have amazing stories that I might never have met without taking time to look up from my computer. (I need to do the latter more, as I am currently sitting in a coffee shop…looking at my computer. Ha.)
- Take a moment to think about the little things that make life good. I write a lot, and I think I enjoy it because it helps me focus in on my thoughts, as I have a tendency to think about a million things at once. This year, instead of filling my glass pumpkin with candy, I am filling it with fall-colored notes about my reasons to be thankful. I did it last year, and now it’s definitely a thing. One note says, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the worship team at NOLA Church.” Another says, “I’m thankful for my apartment, its location and the things in it.” Some of the notes are about really big things while other are small, but when I look at the pumpkin which is stuffed full of blessings, I’m thankful for that too.
- Share something you have with a friend. I like crafty things and baking so making something for someone just because will make everyone feel good.
- Compliment someone everyday. I’m pretty good at this already. I tend to say what I think (when it’s positive) so it’s not weird for me to tell someone what I like about them. I know that when someone takes time to compliment me, it means a lot. I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
I’m not saying that focusing on the positive will eliminate every issue we have, but it will go a long way toward helping us get through it. Last week in class, my professor said, “Optimism isn’t something that you have; it’s something that you do,” and I’m doing it.