Feeling Grateful: It’s Not Just For Thanksgiving
I can picture it now – the table is beautifully set and filled with delicious food, all of the people I love are gathered around as my Dad gives thanks for the meal. We’re all ready to dig in and my mom stops everyone and asks us to go around the table and share one thing we are thankful for. After a few groans of protest, we all begin to share some of the things that bring us gratitude and joy. This always brings a warm and fuzzy feeling, hugs and sometimes a few tears. Afterwards, everyone is glad we stopped to share some gratitude. Welcome to Thanksgiving at my house – now, let’s eat!
The holiday season is such a busy and fun time for a lot of people; however, for others it is full of sadness and overwhelming stress. No matter what your situation or feelings about the holidays, research suggests we can all benefit from feelings of gratitude. Our brains even release different hormones when we show gratitude and if experienced on a regular basis gratitude helps to combat anxiety and depression. Maybe my mom is onto something after all!
As with most habits we want to change or new practices we want to try, it can be hard to know where to start. Below are some tips to help you begin your own journey toward leading a life with more gratitude and overall wellness. Beginning to focus on the positives and showing gratitude can lead to less anxiety and/or depression all year long.
Start a gratitude journal: Each day jot down 1-3 things that you are thankful for that day. Over a period of time, you will begin to have a more positive view of your life instead of getting caught in the cycle of negative thoughts.
Count the kindness: Begin to keep account of random acts of kindness that you do for those around you or that happen to you throughout the week. Did someone hold the door for you? Allow you to cut in line in traffic? Pay for your meal? Even the smallest acts of kindness can help you begin to be more grateful. Begin to be intentional about being kind and noticing the kindness and generosity of others.
Share your gratitude: Take some time to write a letter or go visit someone in your life who you are thankful for. Taking the time to share words of gratitude will likely give both you and the other person an instant mood boost. Along those same lines, a simple visit and reconnecting with those you care about is like giving the gift of your most precious commodity; time.
Keep that Thanksgiving mindset: Alot of families take turns sharing what they are grateful for on Thanksgivng. Try taking that idea outside of the holiday season. Make it a tradition once a week at the dinner table or end your weekend by telling your family or mate what you enjoyed about each of them over the week. Being intentional about showing and sharing gratitude helps you feel more connected to those around you but also decreases stress and improves your mood.
Start by adding one of these simple tips to your routine to help you be more aware of your own gratitude. You might be surprised at just how much a little effort and intention can change your perspective and mood.
If you find that you have a difficult time changing your focus away from negative thoughts and feeling or you just can’t seem to work your way out of the anxiety and depression, we would like to invite you to reach out to us today. Our therapists are here to help guide you back to a place of wellness and gratitude. Read about our team of highly trained therapists and their specialities or make your appointment today.