This time of year can be one filled with joy, and also, difficult experiences and grief. Instead of focusing on many of the external aspects of the holiday season: the shopping, the music, and the parties, committing to a daily gratitude practice can help shift places of pain and sorrow into ones of acceptance and joy. Taking time during the holidays to notice and express gratitude for everything in your life can make your holidays feel more deeply, and richly, meaningful.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is an affirmation of the good things in your life that come from inside and outside you. Gratitude acknowledges connection to the world and others and can help us have a larger sense of ourselves, and the world.  During the holidays, when life can be moving at a frantic pace, slowing down to practice gratitude can keep us connected to ourselves, and appreciate more deeply all the joys that are at work every day of our lives.

Ways to Practice Gratitude

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal: Every morning, or evening, write 5 things you are grateful for. Whether it is people in your life, your health, an experience, something beautiful you noticed, staying in a positive frame of mind can help you experience the holidays in a richer way.
  2. Give: Nothing helps us feel more grateful than giving. Whether it is your time or your money, giving helps us to see how much of the world can benefit from our generosity.
  3. Notice: Take time to notice the world around you. Snow. People’s faces. The sound of your own breathing. There is much to feel deeply and be grateful for. Take the time to nourish your sense of gratitude and experience all the wonder this world has to offer.