The Gift of Gratitude
What if we could learn to survive and even love the holidays? What about learning to appreciate the people in our lives, the things we already have, and, most importantly, ourselves? Recent research shows that practicing gratitude and being thankful can make you happier (and healthier). And who doesn’t want to be those two things? Practicing gratitude may sound difficult but if you remain mindful, and follow the steps below, you will find that you’re giving yourself the greatest gift of all this holiday season—gratitude.
• Focus on the Positive. Our tendency is to harp on the negative during the holidays negating the positive aspects of the holiday season. This is the time of year when you are granted the opportunity to be with the people you love, bring forth the happy memories of past holidays and focus on the positives in your own life. Gratitude grounds us in the present and forces us into a positive direction. Why spend time focusing on the negative when you can bring forth all the positive by just being grateful?
• Savor Positive Moments. Just like you would savor a succulent vegan meal, savor your positive experiences. Sustain these feelings and let them flow through your body. Keep the positive feelings within you for as long as you can and meld them into your memory. Focus on the positive experiences and graze in your gratitude.
• Appreciate the Good. You will experience immense happiness if you practice gratitude. Appreciate people, acts of kindness, laughter, food, and everything else in between. The act of appreciating someone, or something instantly calls forth delight. This helps with the practice of instilling joy to your life.
• Ignore the Bad. Even when things are bad, we can always find many opportunities in a given day to pay attention to the things you can be grateful for. It is not a matter of searching, these things are usually right in front of you. Think of the people in your life, the positive things you have done in life, the positive things people have done for you, and all the things that you can further improve on.
• Spend Time with YOU. Often times we find ourselves focusing heavily on other people. We are remiss in thinking of ourselves. Sound selfish? It’s not. The most important person in your life is YOU. Self-reflection and self-care are imperative! If you cannot take care of yourself there is no way that you will be able to take care of someone else. We learn to appreciate ourselves as we are. We become open to whatever is happening to us and we find valuable gifts hidden in our current lives. Be grateful for who you are, where you are and the joy you bring to others lives.
Remember that practicing gratitude brings forth happiness in our lives. If we remain cognizant of this fact we are bound to improve our perspective and attitude. If you spend just 5 minutes at the end of each day writing down what you are grateful for, you will eventually find that you have all the gifts you will ever need.
Also, check out Psychology Today’s 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude