During the holiday season, when so many people are stressed to the limit, it’s good to take time out and count your blessings. Practicing gratitude helps reduce your stress and generally makes you feel happier.
It helps you see yourself in a new light—one less fraught with reason to worry. In fact, it’s always a good time to be grateful.
Last week we talked about ideas that will help you practice gratitude, like noticing the good, little things in life. Here are some more ideas to keep you in a thankful frame of mind.
1) Start a gratitude journal. You don’t have to be a writer. You don’t have to show it to anyone. It doesn’t have to be a formal thing. But it’s amazing how cathartic it is to write down your feelings. And when the focus of your writing is about things and people who make you feel grateful, you’ll find it lifts your spirits.
2) Have a rule against gossip. When you find yourself on the verge of talking behind someone’s back, stop. Negative talk isn’t good for you. It sucks your energy. And don’t be a party to someone else’s gossip either. If Linda says something snarky about Sally, you can say, “Well, Sally speaks very highly of you.” That will make Linda think before she gossips again.
3) Find the good in people. There’s always something good in everyone, although some people make it more difficult to find than others. And when they make it really hard, you should consider limiting your time with them. Or cut them out of your life completely if that’s practical to do. Then you can be grateful that you don’t have to deal with their negative energy any more.
4) Ask what you can learn. If you find yourself in a bad situation—and you will, no matter how positive you stay—try to learn from it. Try to understand how you can avoid similar situations in the future. And remember, your bad circumstances will pass. Someday you will look back on your experience and understand what took place.
5) Get involved in a cause. Especially if that cause will help ameliorate suffering. If you have endured domestic violence, join an organization that helps wipe it out. Or whatever cause is dear to your heart. Donate your time and talent if you can’t afford to give money. You’ll find you will be grateful for the opportunity to make a difference.
6) Make gratitude your mantra. When you practice mindful meditation, put yourself in a grateful frame of mind. It can be uplifting to simply think about gratitude as a concept. Or, you can focus on something or someone you’re grateful for—a different topic every time you meditate. There is no wrong way to do this—it’s up to you and it’s very personal.
Practicing gratitude will help you put your own life into perspective, and you’ll be happier and healthier as a result.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact-us.