What Does Gratitude Mean?

What Does Gratitude Mean? My definition of Gratitude is: Taking Time to Reflect on What You Have. It’s all about Thankfulness!

When we work full-time, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  We might even lose touch with the things that really matter in life.  Hey -- it happens!

In retirement,  you actually have plenty to be grateful for, regardless of the circumstances in which you may find yourself.  First off, you are alive to experience yet another day… many friends and family members didn’t make it this far, right?

Every retiree is different and we all have our own unique list of things that bring simple pleasure, feelings of pure happiness, or just a sense of comfort each day.

You can be grateful for physical blessings like where you live, the climate you reside in, or even your residence. You might be thankful about certain people being in your life. This may include your kids, your grandkids or your best friend. You might be grateful for a special tv show, website, book (or the never-ending stream of books brought into your life), or foods, a walk in the rain, whatever you enjoy!

The most important function of thankfulness is that it allows you to open your heart, mind, and soul to goodness, gratitude, and light.

If you’re unsure how to consciously cultivate gratitude, consider these suggestions:

Take five. Allow yourself five minutes each morning to experience thankfulness. Take these moments to simply think about the past day. Say to yourself, “One thing I’m thankful for is___.” Fill in the blank with something you noticed from the last 24 hours. Think on it for a minute or so. Smile about it. Then go on with your morning.

Appreciate your world openly. Share your gratitude with others. For example, if you’re chatting on the phone with a friend, you could say something like, “I am so glad that I painted the living room that beautiful light teal color. The sunlight reflects on it and I love the color.”

Another example is, “I went grocery shopping yesterday, with my neighbor, and she was so helpful in finding new foods to try.” When your verbal acknowledgements to others demonstrate the gratitude you feel, you’ll develop a habit of recognizing what you’re thankful for.

Notice the small stuff. Promise yourself you won’t take little things for granted. Retired life could be very busy or very dull -- and you may feel challenged to notice small bits of wonder in your day. But if you put your mind to it, you’ll be astounded at what you see. FInd small bits of gratitude everywhere you look.

Open your eyes to the wonders all around you. They won’t cost a dime. A sunset, a warm cup of tea, or an ice-cold glass of water when you get home, can be great reasons to feel gratitude. The smell of honeysuckle as you walk by the vine or your grandkids impish smiles are still more things that might remind you of your blessings.

Learn to turn your thoughts around. When you discover you’re thinking negative thoughts, imagine a big stop sign and say, “Stop” out loud. Then, replace the stop sign with an image of something around you that you’re grateful for right at that moment. Think about that object, experience, person, or situation and bask in your positive experience.  The simple act of YELLING “STOP” (even in your mind will end negative thoughts)... and open the door for gratitude to come in.

Keep a gratitude journal. If you find you’re having difficulty remembering to notice the things that stir your inner thankfulness, perhaps starting a gratitude journal would help. A journal is a tangible visual aid that will trigger you to think about what you’re grateful for.

You can also try a Gratitude Jar, like the one on this page! 

Date each entry and jot down what you’re grateful for in that moment. You can write as much or as little as you wish. Place your journal/jar in a spot where you’ll see it daily. This way, you’ll be prompted to experience your gratitude more often… and life will bloom for you!

Being grateful is truly one of the things that makes life worth living!

Each time you consciously decide to experience your thankfulness, you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Open your eyes and mind to the people, places, things, and experiences you’re grateful for. You’ll feel so much better about your life.

Just Jot It Down... it will open your heart and mind to much more!