Across the United States, November has always been considered the month of gratitude. There is something about the colder weather and earlier sunsets that makes indoors feel that much cozier; the heat of summer is replaced by the warmth of family around the dinner table, and the light of the evening sun gives way to a sense of togetherness that only the winter months can inspire. There is actually a word for this feeling in Danish, untranslatable to English: “Hygge” (pronounced “Hoo-gah”) is the dane’s way of describing that feeling of wintery coziness, together with friends in the candlelight with warm drinks and laugher all around. Quite the November aesthetic, no? With all the challenges facing our country this year, it is more important than ever to find opportunities to practice gratitude and cultivate this sense of hygge. With that in mind, we’ve compiled our favorite ways to practice gratitude, starting with this ten minute meditation that we return to time and time again:
External gratitude starts with internal acceptance and peace — listen to this meditation to clear your mind and open your heart. Exercising gratitude has been shown to positively impact almost every area of your life; mindful practice is linked to better physical health, deeper sleep, higher self esteem, and mental strength.
Next up, end the day by listing what you are most grateful for. Not only does this exercise prepare your body for restful sleep, it also gives your mind a chance to reorient your priorities and goals; so much of the day is taken up by extraneous noise, and we need to schedule time in our days to remind ourselves what is most important in life.
Along the same lines of the daily practice, the gratitude journal ensures that you follow through with your wellness practice. Start the day by setting aside five minutes to physically write down what you are grateful for and why; incorporating this journal into your daily routine is proven to enhance your open-mindedness and patience throughout the day.