Give the Gift of Gratitude
It happens every year, you say you're not getting caught up in the commercialism & 'hustle & bustle' of the holiday season, but then you spend most of the time in the lead up to the holidays feeling overwhelmed, stressed & spending loads of money on presents to make sure everyone is happy.
But when all the gifts have been open and it’s all over, what are you left with?
How many of us are spending the holiday season feeling truly content and grateful?
Why is this an important question?
Well, it turns out...
gratitude is an important component to a physically, emotionally and socially healthy and satisfying life!
More specifically, research has shown that a grateful mindset in both adults and children increases happiness, life satisfaction, and resilience, improves sleep and overall health, and reduces anxiety and depression.
So this holiday season, give yourself and your loved ones the gift of gratitude with these simple but effective strategies:
1. Express Thanks
The tradition of the thank you note is practically extinct; you’re lucky to get a thank you text these days. But the practice of thanking people is an essential component of gratitude.
There are all kinds of ways to give thanks: saying ‘thank you’, thank you stickers, thank you hugs, thank you phone calls, thank you ‘I’ll make you a cup of tea”, thank you help.
It’s the little gestures and thoughtful moments that end up meaning the most. And why not get creative with it! See if you can come up with some new and creative ways to thank others.
2. Have Daily Gratitude Conversations
In your conversations with your friends, family, or children, ask questions that lead to a grateful perspective. For example, during a family meal, talk about something that went well or ask everyone to name one thing that they were grateful for that day. Or talk about the best part of your day in casual conversation with friends.
Talking about good things that have happened in your life extends the positive impact that it has on you and can create space for others to share their joyful moments.
A couple of tips: remember the simple things (a song, the weather, a smile) and use humour in your story-telling to make it more memorable.
3. Be Secret Santa All Year Round!
Spread gratitude through giving. Random acts of kindness boost your mood, make you feel more connected to others, and can be really fun!
Challenge yourself to do one nice thing for someone everyday.
They can be as simple or creative as you want: give a compliment, write a nice note, donate a book, give up your place in line for someone, offer to help someone at school or at home, give someone a flower. Kind gestures don’t only help you and the person who is receiving it.
Research shows that anyone who witnesses kindness has the same benefits as giving and receiving kindness on physical and emotional health! So now you given others something to feel grateful for!
4. Contribute to Your Community
Do you scold yourself when you’re feeling down: “You should be more grateful!” “You don’t know how lucky you are!” “Other people have worse problems than you.”
All this does it make you feel worse.
Comparisons can leave us feeling guilty or anxious rather than fostering appreciation and altruism. Instead of berating yourself, expend your energy making a difference in others’ lives: participate in fundraising opportunities, wrap presents to go under a giving tree, volunteer, or save money throughout the year to donate to a charity of your choice.
It is through giving back that you will truly understand how fortunate you are, but in a way that is both kind to others and to yourself.
5. Contain Your Brain
It’s hard to focus on gratitude when your mind is occupied with worries every minute of the day.
Create healthy boundaries for your worry thoughts so you can make room for the grateful ones.
Contain Your Brain can help you worry less and worry better, and you’ll probably sleep better too. Bonus! Give yourself a gift that keeps on giving.
Wishing you all the best this holiday season, may the new year be full of moments that fill you with gratitude!