Cindy Hoard

Inspirational Author and Psychologist

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Hopefully you are continuing to be aware of your personal gratitude in addition to your circle of family and friends. We are going to move out even further into our communities. Start by considering the individual communities in your life that are part of a broader community. Here are a few to consider and you will probably have even more. Your work community; your church community; your sports community; your hobby/craft communities; support groups (12-step, cancer, PTSD, counseling); and/or organizations in which you participate. I hope you will think of some I did not even include!

Personal Reflection
We are going to look at ways to express gratitude to large groups or communities in a minute. But the first thing is for you to think about specific actions or experiences you are grateful for in your various communities. Maybe it has not occurred to you to focus for a few moments on the gifts you have received from the communities in which you are a part. Certainly, there are social gifts of just being with others, but think a little deeper about possible values you have in common with each of your groups.

Expressing Gratitude to Your Communities
This can feel pretty daunting, but there are a wide range of options and manners for your expressions. You might start with specific individuals you appreciate, which may open up your view of the larger group as well. Maybe your gratitude is related to the types of support you have received, new ideas you have gained, specific encouragement, and even as simple as feeling part of a community. I know that I have different kinds of experiences with different groups and settings. You could also think about how these groups have brought meaning to your life.

Be aware of times to share your thoughts with groups such as social gatherings, potlucks, group projects, even in meetings. You might suggest opening a meeting or planning session, with a couple of minutes of refreshing, deep breathing, quiet reflection and being present in the moment. This approach is being used in major business groups and corporations to increase personal awareness and promote self-care as well.

How Your Gratitude in Groups has Impact
Hopefully you are not overwhelmed by considering gratitude in a larger group. It is interesting how you as just one person can make a difference. We can become so task focused that we may miss blessings in single moments. Frequent expressions of gratitude enhance your physical and mental health. You might feel more generous, compassionate, and less isolated. You can be a model for making sure people stay in touch with positive aspects of themselves and those around them. There is research to suggest that personally expressing gratitude is even more valuable than just trying to be positive.

Think about places you might volunteer for some time based on what you have available. You want to be clear about your priorities and the amount of time you choose to volunteer. Your smile serving at a soup kitchen, a food bank, a shelter, and so on can be electric for those you do not even really know. Your gifts of gratitude are likely to improve your own sleep, decrease your stress, make you feel more alive, bring you joy and happiness and even help you feel energized.

Broaden your awareness of the many sources of gratitude in your everyday life. You will create a more comprehensive view of life in general. As you count your blessings, may your appreciation of many aspects of your life continue to grow.

Click here for an example of a website that gives specific examples of the expression of gratitude. There are many more.

May you indulge in the celebration of Thanksgiving in your heart and mind, and maybe some yummy food too!!   You cannot overdo gratitude; it multiplies even though you might not realize it.

Gratitude and Blessings for this meaningful holiday, Cindy