With the holiday season upon us, this time of year can be tough for many. Family obligations, gatherings with friends, gift buying, financial concerns and the constant hustle and bustle can become extremely stressful and overwhelming. Add in unemployment, business uncertainty and what seems like an ever-looming pandemic, that’s a dangerous mix for emotional & mental burnout.
So how do we rise above all the anxiety and stay positive amid much uncertainty so we can actually enjoy “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year”?
One word – GRATITUDE!
You may be asking “How can I be grateful when there is so much negative happening?”
Gratitude is defined in the dictionary as – “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful”
Cultivating gratitude or gratefulness is the single most powerful tool for reclaiming our own power, resilience, and positivity. Gratitude actually helps keep negative thoughts at bay. We can’t be grateful and pessimistic at the same time.
When we notice & express gratitude, we feel better, are more optimistic and can even dissolve toxic emotions. Gratefulness plays an important role on our overall well-being.
Want more of the feel-good emotions this holiday (or any time of year)? Here’s how to infuse more gratitude into our lives:
Practicing noticing what’s going on around you. Sometimes life gets mundane, and we don’t stop to take note of the little things. The beautiful sunrise, the warm, relaxing hot shower, or the cup of coffee our co-worker brought us. There are so many things to be grateful for each day. We just need to notice & be mindful of them.
Getting started on a new practice is easy and exciting when you first learn about it. We think “YES, I can do that. I’ll start right now”. But then a new day starts, the same old routines begin, the same old triggers get us into our same old negative mindset and our new gratefulness practice has now been forgotten. A simple way to stay on track and keep up with your gratitude practice is to get into a regular daily gratitude routine. At first you can set up reminders in your phone or visual clues around things you do daily. Like putting a note on your bathroom mirror so you’ll be reminded you while you’re brushing your teeth. A note at your desk can remind you to be grateful while you’re at work.
Don’t keep all of your gratefulness to yourself. Although, even if you don’t share your gratitude, you will still reap the benefits. If you notice a kind act, feel free to show or express your gratitude to that person. This strengthens your own gratitude practice with positive emotions, and it also spreads the good feels to the recipient.
Journaling, meditating, speaking, and writing thankful letters are all great ways to practice gratitude. And while the act of doing these is important, what really intensifies the positive effect is focusing on the feeling you get. Really allow that feeling of being grateful to sink in and notice how your body feels when you are thankful. Give yourself a few extra minutes when being grateful, to let all of those positive, comforting emotions flood in.
Training our minds to focus on gratitude is a simple but powerful way to appreciate the things we do have in our lives. It squashes comparison and nourishes our emotional and mental well-being. Make time this season to start practicing daily gratitude and you might find this is your best holiday yet.
Written by Christine Graham