The holiday season is here, and it brings both many joys, and many stresses. It’s important to remember to slow down and recognize what are the important things in life. Recognizing and being thankful for the little things in your everyday life is part of practicing, gratitude.
Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for the good things you have. These good things are not necessarily material possessions. They can be relationships, situations, or anything positive in your life. It isn’t always possible to change your circumstances, but you can change where you focus your mind and heart.
The science behind the health benefits of a more grateful way of thinking is hard to pinpoint and prove, but practicing gratitude daily has been shown to lower cortisol levels in the body (a stress hormone). In turn, less stress can improve sleep, help maintain a healthy heart, and improve overall happiness and health.
Show yourself some kindness this season, and better yet share it with others as well. The old saying “it’s better to give than receive” really does ring true for most people when practiced.
Giving doesn’t have to mean buying gifts. A nice unexpected compliment, some homemade cookies, scraping off your coworker’s windshield, and offering to return a cart in the parking lot for a busy parent or elderly person can brighten their day and put a smile on their face. You’d be surprised how another person’s smile (that you helped create) can lift your spirits too.
The other thing the holiday season brings is winter, and the colder and darker months of the year. Many people especially find this time of year tough to keep an all-around positive attitude. You’ve got to look for the good things such as the opportunity to work on home improvement projects inside the house, or the time to focus on hobbies that might be pushed aside when you’re busy enjoying the outdoors during the warmer months. There are always the exciting activities that the snow brings as well such as cross-country skiing, building a snowman, and many more.
Look for the positive in everything and you’ll find much more enjoyment in your day. If you take it a step further and help create moments for other people to appreciate, you’ll see how that really does give back to yourself too.