by Dr. Tina Marcantel

Gratitude Cans

Happy Thanksgiving!

When I’m feeling thankful, it helps me be more aware of the things around me that bring love and beauty into my life on a regular basis. Gratitude also seems to open up a portal of well-being that allows in more good circumstances and friendly people to add to the abundance I already have.

This time of year reminds us to reflect on the large and the small blessings life brings our way every day. Since I’m big on having practical tools to help me put ideas into practice in my life, I thought I’d share this one with you for the coming year.

My husband Peter found a suggestion online to make a “gratitude box.” The idea is to keep a container handy and to fill it with notes throughout the year that reflect the good things that happen to us or the things we’re thankful for. I’ve kept a “gratitude journal” for years, but this is a little twist that I think adds some fun and encourages me to record those little things I might not think of when I’m journaling. It’s also visible and available (we keep ours on the breakfast table), so on those days I’m feeling down I can pull out a few notes for a pick-me-up.

Any container will do—a box, a jar, or an old milk jug. Peter and I decorated used coffee cans. I added a butterfly to mine, which reminds me of the changes in life that lead to continual spiritual growth. Peter’s a fan of the Life is Good brand, so he added Jake and Rocket to his can to represent him with his guitar and our dog, Sandi. Have fun with it!

Be sure to leave a small pad of paper and a pen next to the box so you can jot down your ideas easily. Some examples from mine: “Found a new bloom on the rose bush this morning—smells heavenly,” “Andy (our son) just found out he passed the BAR exam! Yay!!” “Had a wonderful lunch with my daughter Anna today.” Anything that brings joy and gratitude into your life qualifies, no matter how big or small. I also like to put the dates on my notes to help take me back to those special times.

Why not join Peter and me this year in celebrating those special moments by making your own gratitude box? You’ll be amazed at how the slips pile up when you practice being more aware of the little (and big) joys that life brings!