10 Ways to Practice Holiday Gratitude

(2 min read)

With the holiday season now upon us, many of us are rejoicing at time away from school or the office. As much as the break is greatly anticipated however, many of us tend to fill up ever spare moment so that, come the end of vacation time, we’re left feeling like we didn’t get a chance to relax or enjoy the holiday season. We might even be left feeling more drained and empty.

As much as we’re busy with traveling, shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining, or attending holiday events, we can ultimately choose to find a single moment every day to engage in the practice of gratitude. Whether it be while standing in line at the grocery store, sitting at a red light, or just before going to bed, if we can focus our attention on a few simple things that we’re grateful for every day, we will increase our chances of having a genuinely happy and fulfilling holiday.

According to Robert Emmons, leading scholar in the positive psychology movement (Emmons, 2007), when we choose to view the most basic experiences or benefits in our lives as gifts, we undergo a process of cognitive amplification. That is, when we focus our attention on a perceived gain, the positive emotions that are experienced from the gain become amplified or enhanced. When we do this, we’re more likely to feel happier overall. This may be one of the reasons why gratitude is so successfully linked to improved emotional health, physical well-being, and greater relationship satisfaction.


Here are a few suggested ways that you can practice gratitude over the holidays:

DAY 1:   Find 3 simple everyday pleasures you enjoyed…

DAY 2:   What are 3 strengths/resources in yourself that you are proud of…

DAY 3:   Name 3 people you are grateful to have in your life and why…

DAY 4:   Name 3 moments of natural beauty that you witnessed…

DAY 5:   Name 3 acts of kindness you received from others…

DAY 6:   What are 3 modern conveniences that made your life easier today…

DAY 7:   Name 3 foods you are grateful to have enjoyed…

DAY 8:   What are 3 gifts (literally!) that you are grateful to have received…

DAY 9:   Name 3 sensory pleasures you were gifted with today…

DAY 10:   What are 3 things you were happy to have offered others…


These is a very simple exercise to practice over the holidays, but the gains can be absolutely tremendous.

I wish you a very happy holiday, and all the best in 2018!

***

Emmons, R. (2007). Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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