Here is my Thanksgiving edition of the Friday Five: where each week I share four things I’ve learned and one fun photo. This post falls within the month of November, so I think it’s still timely, plus, I ask, when is being thankful out of season?

1. Thankful hearts awaken kindness in others. Have you noticed that it’s pretty much impossible to be mean or harsh with a grateful spirit? Sometimes when I find those around me are being grouchy monsters, I realize I haven’t acted grateful for anything in days—it has an effect on my surroundings.

2. Gratitude changes your approach to relationships. The text I sent my husband this morning, telling him what I appreciate about him was vastly altered from the spirit in which I first entered our marriage. A few months after my wedding day, I was overwhelmed by the imperfect person he was, and complained about it to my aunt. She gave me this simple exercise: Think of ten things you appreciate about him every day. It changed my world.

3. Starting with the good stuff makes the bad stuff ‘less bad.’ I can’t think of a single scenario in which launching into a hard conversation without any warm-up is a good way to start (if you want to minimize the harm to everyone involved). If I begin with what I value in my friend/husband/relative before I broach the tough topic, I can remember the good thing I’m fighting to save, and the reason I’ve been thankful in the past, carries me into the hope of a better future.

4. Focusing on something makes that thing your reality—so focus on what you love. If I remind myself I have good friends, time to build creative projects, enough money for all my needs, my life is full and amazing. Intentionally being grateful for something alters your perception of reality. If you’ve never tried practicing thankfulness before, I promise it’s not total fluffy-talk.  Try it by yourself with a journal for a whole week (or month) and see what happens.

5. People like this chef dude make living a thankful life easier, just by being themselves. Keep friends like these close.

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