How to Practice Gratitude This Holiday Season
Many people are pretty good about giving thanks. Saying “thank you” after receiving a gift, or after getting a promotion at work is pretty standard! However, what is true gratitude and how can practicing it regularly improve your life?
People who take a little time each day to practice gratitude and truly reflect on their blessings can significantly create positive changes, and increase their overall well-being and life satisfaction. Now that we’re moving towards the holiday season and a new year, start making daily gratitude a habit now. Here are some easy tips for starting a regular practice of gratitude every single day.
How to Practice Gratitude Every Day
Start a grateful “jar”
Keep a jar or container on a countertop in a high-traffic area of your home, along with a small stack of paper and a pen. Each time you walk by, see if you can write down one or two things you’re grateful for. Fold up the slip of paper, put it in the jar, and go on with your day. At the start of each year on New Year’s day, empty out the jar and read all of the slips of paper. Start fresh in the new year!
Write in a journal
Even just jotting down 3-5 things in your journal at the end of each day that you’re grateful for (just before bed) will create a calm feeling of joy before you rest.
Remember the past
Whether by writing in your journal or practicing a meditation, take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come and how much personal growth you’ve done in your life. Often we dwell on the trouble we are going through in the moment, and forget that we have already come a long way in becoming our best selves.
Think about all of the people in your life that you love. When was the last time you told them how much you loved and appreciated them? Take a moment to reach out to a few loved ones, whether by text, email, or even just by leaving a note. Express your feelings for them and the joy that it brings to them will spread back to you.
Focus on your senses
We are often so distracted that we don’t enjoy the pleasure of all of our senses - sight, smell, taste, touch, sound. This is a wonderful practice of mindfulness and enjoying the present moment. Take time to savor each sense wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
Use your body
Be grateful for all of the natural functions and processes that happen in your body each and every day. From digesting food and converting it to energy, for the way your legs and muscles move as you walk. Have a good deep stretch and feel each movement deeply. Be thankful for all of the wonderful things your body does for you.
Set up reminders
Put a post-it on your mirror that asks “what are you grateful for today?” or set a daily reminder on your phone to pop up at the same time each day. Visual cues help set a trigger, and a regular trigger is a great way to start a new healthy habit like practicing gratitude.
- Focus on the basics
Clean drinking water, a solid roof over our heads, access to healthcare and healthy foods, a reliable internet connection, a warm bed to sleep in each night - these are often things we take for granted. Try to think of how your life would be without these basic daily comforts, and your happiness will greatly improve.
‘Tis the season of giving, and supporting a good cause helps to remind us of all of the things we are fortunate to have. Feeding America and Girls on the Run are a great place to start!