Three Ways to Remember Gratitude

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville

Gratitude Jar

In the month of November, many people use this as a time to reflect and find things to show gratitude towards people in their lives to places they’ve traveled and so much more. According to the Get Experience in Mindfulness (GEM), a new curriculum from National 4-H, “when we practice gratitude, we are being thankful and grateful. Mindful gratitude means showing a deep understanding and appreciation of something….Gratitude is often practiced with kindness and compassion.” Here are three ways to practice gratitude in November: create a gratitude journal, start a gratitude jar, and do a gratitude contemplation exercise.

A gratitude journal is either a notebook or diary that you use to write down simple things that you are grateful for. You can decide to write in your gratitude journal or draw a picture of it. Therefore, if you are having a bad day, you can reflect on your gratitude journal to remember those small things that you are grateful for in your life. 

A gratitude jar is something that I utilize a lot. I used an old mason jar and decorated the outside of it. Typically, I use post-its or index cards and intentionally make time to write down something that I am grateful for in my life. It can be as meaningful or random as possible, but the key is for it to remind you of gratitude. 

Lastly, you can practice gratitude contemplation. The instructions are:

  • Place one hand right underneath the belly button and the other hand over the heart.
  • Take one deep breath in and exhale through the nose.
  • Begin focusing the attention on your heart. In your mind, ask yourself what you are grateful for. Let any thoughts or images that come into the mind to be observed and then let them go.
  • Continue to think of all the different things you are grateful for. It could be people, places, things, moments and experiences. Continue to ask this question to yourself allowing any thoughts to arise and then pass.
  • When you are ready, gently open your eyes and come to a seated position. 

What will you do this month to show gratitude? If you are interested in learning more techniques of mindfulness, contact the local 4-H office at 704.283.3735 or 704.283.3740 and ask to learn more about the GEM curriculum.