As I write this, the stores are beginning to fill and the streets are more crowded – the holiday season is definitely upon us. I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week – likely because Thanksgiving is days away, but also because I think gratitude often gets lost in the holiday bustle.
Gratitude is often talked about before and during Thanksgiving, and then set aside after. I really think gratitude needs to be part of a season-long (and year-round) conversation. True, it can be hard to feel gratitude in an often tumultuous, frightening world or during a life transition that brings stress or loss. But gratitude is possible – and great for your health, too!
Here are 3 simple ways to connect with gratitude during the holidays (and year-round!):
- Slow down. It can be hard to connect with gratitude when we’re rushing around non-stop. The holiday season is a great time to practice mindfulness, and as you slow down, perhaps you might notice something you’re grateful for. Today, I was grateful for a chance to take a 10 minute walk in the sun – and made a conscious choice leave my phone in my pocket.
- Start small. Did the train come on time this morning? Have a great cup of coffee? A good night’s sleep? These things may feel small or unimportant, but feel gratitude for them anyway. Practicing gratitude brings about an attitude shift, so feeling consistently grateful for small things can lead to shifts in how you feel about larger ones.
- Look for the joy. I think we’ve all heard of gratitude journals, or practices – but what about a joy journal? I like the idea of noticing what brings us pure moments of joy – you know, those moments when you can’t help but smile or chuckle at the cute puppy or the kid with pigtails bounding down the street. What brings you joy during the course of a day? Offer gratitude for it.
What’s one small thing you’re grateful for today? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
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