With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we all think of eating delectable food, spending time with family and friends, and watching football. Unfortunately, many people don’t even think about being thankful during this holiday, let alone during the rest of the year. Here are some ways we can increase our gratefulness all year-round.


First, give thanks during difficult situations. The Bible encourages us to be thankful all the time, even when things don’t go our way. It’s easy to give thanks when we have good health, money and working cars. But when difficult circumstances enter our lives, thankfulness is usually last on our minds.

Billy Graham once said, “When life is hard, it’s easy to focus only on the bad things and forget all about the good things God has given us. But God has blessed every one of us in ways we often overlook.” During tough times, we need to focus on our blessings.

Secondly, we should find people who have less than us and strive to bless them. Confucius once stated, “I was complaining that I had no shoes until I met a man that had no feet.” When we are kind to people, not only will they be blessed, but we will be more happy and thankful, too. A friend of mine went on a mission trip to the Philippines and ministered to people who had nothing. Since then, she’s been extremely thankful for her life. We become more thankful when we help those who are less fortunate.

Finally, we need to make a conscious effort to be thankful. Start a gratitude journal. Try to write down three new things for which you are thankful every day. Another idea is to send handwritten thank you notes. And strive to verbally thank people when they do something wonderful for you. Consistent use of these practices will help create a habit of gratefulness.

What will happen to us if we start to be more thankful? According to Robert A. Emmons, who is a gratitude researcher, “Gratitude blocks toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, regret and depression, which can destroy our happiness.” If we are thankful, we will be happier. So, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to count your blessings. Do it today!

Sylvie Winje, a junior homeschooled student, is the daughter of Paul and Audrey Winje, who are members of Cass County Electric Cooperative.