As Thanksgiving rings near we are reminded to count our blessings. This can be difficult to do with the hustle and bustle of the holidays (…so many meals to prepare, decorations to display, gifts to buy!). As we make our way through the season, it is important to take time to step back and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. So many meals to prepare means we are able to feed our family. All the decorations to display mean we have a place that provides us shelter and safety. Having gifts to buy means we have people in our lives to love and celebrate. Food, shelter, and loved ones… it does not get much better than that. My challenge for all of you is to take this feeling of gratitude and embrace it well beyond the season. Research has demonstrated that individuals whom are more grateful in their day to day are happier, sleep better, work harder, experience fewer health problems, and communicate more in their relationships. Here are some ways to foster gratitude.
Set aside time every day to write down three to five things that you are grateful for. These can be anything you found pleasure in, something someone did for you, something you did for yourself/ someone else, etc. Acknowledging these actions and feelings on a daily basis help you to shift your attitude to one of acceptance and gratitude.
So often we find ourselves grumbling under our breath and fixating on the undesirable. When we focus on these negative thoughts we are more likely to feel negative. Changing how you talk to yourself can make a positive impact on your mood.
Use visual reminders. Write what you are thankful for on your bathroom mirror. Hang a gratitude reminder on the fridge. Place sticky notes with words of gratitude strategically around your office. This will prompt you to be more attentive to affirmative experiences.
Take time to experience the present moment without judgment.
for taking time to read this. Catrina Hinkle, MA, LCPC , Greater Elgin Family Care Center