More than any other time of year, the holiday season reminds us to be grateful for all the wonderful things we have in our lives. The mindset of being grateful opens the door to appreciation, joy, & positivity. Although we equate the season of giving thanks with the mindset of gratitude, it is a practice we can take with us throughout the entire year.
During the Holidays we may catch ourselves complaining about the long lines at the grocery store, package mix-ups at the post office, or traffic on the way to the airport; when we shift our vision into a state of gratitude, we gain the ability to change how we approach our day. The acknowledgment of positive thoughts and feelings motivate us to seek them out more often.
1) Keep a Gratitude Journal
Establish a daily practice in which we can remind ourselves of the gifts, grace, benefits and good things we enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, our attributes, or valued people in our lives gives us the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.
2) Consider These Questions
- What does gratitude give us access to?
- What does gratitude cultivate in our lives?
- What does gratitude look like for me?
- Why is gratitude important?
- How can gratitude create a transformation in our lives?
- What is possible when we live from a space of gratitude?
3) Remember the Bad
To be grateful in our current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times we have once experienced. When we remember how difficult life used to be and how far we have come, we set up an explicit contrast in our minds, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
4) Come to Your Senses
Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of the present moment. Being in the present moment gives us access to mindfulness which is the pathway to gratitude.
5) Think Outside the Box
If we want to make the most out of opportunities to practice gratitude, we must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful. Visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often, the best visual reminders are other people.
The moment a negative thought creeps into our mind, we can replace it with a positive one. We must observe these moments of discontent and change our perspective into an appreciation for the things we do have. Once we become oriented toward looking at things gratefully, we will find ourselves beginning to appreciate the simple pleasures – things we may have previously taken for granted.
Gratitude encourages us to identify the goodness in our lives, and who & where it comes from. When we can identify those things, we can recognize the good in others and that they see value in us. From there, we can transform the way we see ourselves.