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Practicing Thanksgiving Every Day!

Colleen Cannon practicing Thanksgiving every day

Did you know there are two simple words that are scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier?

Those two words are: THANK YOU!

Isn’t it fantastic that one day a year we have the opportunity to truly observe, gather and share the people/places/things we are grateful for? This annual celebration allows us to transform our thoughts and words of gratitude into HAPPY MOLECULES aka Serotonin.

Although we appreciate Thanksgiving for allowing us to look at what we are truly thankful for, at Women’s Quest we firmly believe that gratitude should be a daily, moment to moment, practice which creates happiness from the inside, out! In other words, thanksgiving every day!

After my recent trip to Peru, I was able to pinpoint one major contrast between our country and theirs. The people are ALWAYS smiling and grateful to be alive. Every morning begins with an expression of gratitude through a blessing to their surroundings and Pacha Mama!
But guess what? YOU CAN DO THE SAME!

Here Are Some Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude Every Single Day:

Smile: Did you know that the physical act of smiling can actually make you happier? It’s true. Smiling is the easiest practice of alignment. It is proven to make people feel better internally as well as look better, happier and even more competent in the eyes of others. Don’t believe me? Check out this TED talk about the “Hidden Power of Smiling” with Ron Gutman.

Amplify the Positive: Rick Hanson says that the brain is like Velcro for Negative thoughts and Teflon for positive thoughts. You must be diligent and pay attention to every thought so the bad ones don’t stick with you. This awareness will help you spend less energy fixating on the things that are going wrong, and pull your energy towards the things that are going well!

Word of the Day: Think of a positive word to embody what you did that day. Acknowledge your willingness to show up and be the best you that you could be that day! Reinforce and remind your brain that no matter what the circumstances, you LOVED that day and the growth it provided. This can be a simple exercise practiced at the dinner table or in the mirror.

Give Praise to Yourself and Others: Tell yourself and others things you appreciate, love and respect about them. Take the effort to do this once a day. Every once in a while take the time to handwrite a note to yourself or someone you love. We do this writing activity often at WQ. When people receive these notes of praise they feel seen, heard, loved and respected for being so awesome! Small doses of gratitude can make a huge difference, so take a moment, RIGHT NOW and send a short praise email/text to a friend. I promise, you will both feel better!

Give Thanks for Your Basic Everyday Things: Thank your food, Thank your body, Thank the planet, Thank the weather. Shift your perspective and think about everyday things you might not always appreciate, like your garbage can, your driveway, your pillow or your water faucet. Many of us live in a world of convenience, we seldom think about these daily activities that aren’t always guaranteed. Some of the retreats I lead don’t have access to things like running water. It’s is always an eye opening experience to witness the gratitude that comes from these simple, yet life changing things.

Start and End Your Day With a Gratitude List: Often times the tendency when we wake up is to check all the things such as E-mail, Social, News, Etc. But let’s give something else a try… Every day when you wake up, before you roll over and touch your phone, think of FIVE things in your life you are grateful for. Say this out loud to yourself! When you lay down at night, repeat this same exercise before you fall asleep. Every once in a while challenge yourself to name the things ABOUT YOURSELF that you are grateful for. “I am kind, I am confident, I am intelligent.” This simple act of gratitude will allow you to more actively notice and participate with the positive things in your life!

These are just a few of the ways to practice gratitude not only this holiday season, but every day! The shift into living a life of gratitude starts with you! Say thank you to every part of your body, start from your head and go down to your toes. You will find that as you listen to the conversations with your body, it will start talking back. This will make you feel more self attuned and give you the ability to transmit gratitude from the inside OUT!
So reach out to the people you love, thank the people who have impacted your life, maybe even reach out to someone you haven’t connected with in a while.

Lastly, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to the Women’s Quest staff and participants who helped make this year so successful! It’s been a true honor to adventure, evolve and collaborate with each and every one of you. Thank you for bringing your radiant light and energy into the WQ community! You all INSPIRE ME!

Practicing thanksgiving on a Women's Quest retreat