Written by Julie Paiva, CHHC
It’s easy with our busy lifestyles to get stuck in a rut and find ourselves complaining about everyday things. The Thanksgiving season is often a reminder to look beyond ourselves and our immediate circumstances and notice things in our lives that bring us the feeling of gratitude. Practicing gratefulness has many benefits such as improving mood, reducing stress, increasing energy, promoting more peaceful sleep, and supporting the immune system. Ultimately, it inspires joy while reducing worry. With these positive effects, why not carry a happy, grateful mindset with you beyond the holiday season? Here are some thoughts to help you make that happen.
Make Time for Loved Ones
With the hustle and bustle of life, it is so easy to take for granted those closest to us who undoubtedly bring us joy. Purpose to give undivided, electronic-free attention to children, spouses, parents, grandparents, and friends on a regular basis not just on holidays. This quality time will help take your focus off yourself and your problems and help you remember how thankful you are for your loved ones.
Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
A gratitude journal is a quick and effective way to start feeling more positive right away. It does not need to be a lengthy entry. Simply write down three things that you are grateful for each morning and each night. No explanations needed just list your joy cultivators.
Write a Gratitude Letter
We all have people in our lives that have made large impacts on us. Write someone who inspired you or helped you to succeed in some way a letter expressing this. Even a simple little thank you card for someone who is always kind towards you. Not only will this process of reflection help you feel thankful, but imagine the joy it will bring to the recipient as well.
Download a Gratitude App
There are lots of apps to choose from that help you with your daily gratitude practice. Some even have prompts to help you if you want to write more in your journal than just a list. Others have quotes or pictures that might spark thanksgiving in your heart.
Do something for someone that would make a difference in their day. It can be someone you know or even an act of kindness to a stranger.
Help out your community. Spend time with the elderly, read to a class of students, help out at a shelter, clean up the local park or be of service in some capacity.
We all have something we are really good at. Why not share our passion and joy with someone looking to improve their skills?
Take Care of Your Health
Be grateful for yourself. Make sure that you’re eating healthy, exercising, drinking enough water, getting plenty of rest and speaking lovingly to yourself.
These are all wonderful things to get you into an attitude of gratitude, but don’t make it just a seasonal thing. Start now to develop a new grateful practice that will carry on all year long. There are so many small things in our lives that go unnoticed. Pay attention to those things, and share those with your friends instead of our usual daily complaints. If you are consistent and persistent, you will notice a shift in your daily life, your mood and your mental attitude.