How Can I Practice Gratitude During the Holidays?
As we find ourselves approaching the holidays, your tension or stress may be building up—you may start feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having family over, cooking an abundance of delicious dishes or perhaps you just feel uncertain about what the holidays will bring. Therefore, it might be a good idea to adjust your mindset by practicing gratitude during the holiday season.
What is gratitude, and what will it do for me?
Gratitude is being present in the current moment and recognizing the good things in your life. It can be as simple or as complicated as you make it, like saying thank you to those you appreciate, writing in a gratitude journal on a daily basis or just taking a moment to recognize the little things in life, like a good book or a warm sunny day. Gratitude also improves your mental and physical health. By increasing your optimism, strengthening your relationships and easing anxiety, your sense of well-being will feel more fulfilled.
Whom do I show gratitude to… and how?
Absolutely anyone can be on the receiving end of your gratitude. Whether you thank the busy clerk at the register where you’re buying holiday gifts, share a hug with a friend who always has your best interests in mind or spend time with a family member who you’re happy to see each year when the holidays roll around, expressing your admiration can make someone feel special. If you find yourself butting heads with a family member at a holiday gathering, you can be gracious to them, too, by thanking them for giving you a different perspective. If you’re feeling the urge to tell them off, refrain from doing so; your restraint is a form of gratitude!
Can I give my gratitude to someone who has passed?
Absolutely. The holidays may be a particularly difficult time for those who have lost a loved one, especially if the loss was recent. Trying out gratitude as a group will foster a loving environment to honor and remember the person or people who have since passed, as well as give you the opportunity to think of all the great memories you had with them. Try something as simple as cooking one of their signature recipes or recalling one of their silly holiday traditions. Sharing stories and talking about what you miss about them is practicing gratitude in itself; being grateful for the past, in times both good and bad, can help bring your family closer.
Is it wrong to be grateful for myself?
No way! You made it through another year, which may have brought you success, hardship or anything in between. Showing yourself gratitude is essential. Celebrate the strength you possess, as the challenges you’ve overcome are nothing to undermine. Think about the acts of kindness you’ve done for others; if you struggle to think of any, it never hurts to do something kind. After all, doing something good for someone makes you feel good! Take time to slow down and reflect on your year as the remainder of the year whirls past.
Even if you can’t spend the holidays with your friends and family this year, you should express your gratitude remotely and let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. As the year comes to a close, consider implementing gratitude as a year-long task. Conveying your thanks and appreciation to those around you may help you build relationships that last a lifetime, and your overall wellness will benefit from allowing yourself that kindness as well.
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