As we tuck away all the fun of Halloween, we watch the last of the leaves fall away and the light begin to wane with the time change. Soon, our unseasonably warm weather will transform into frosty mornings and colder days. We begin to wind down the year of 2022, with our thoughts turning to
Thanksgiving and the coming holiday season.
It can be all too easy to get lost in the flurry of this busy season, the worries of upcoming heating costs, another winter season of Covid, and everything other illness that seems to be whipping through.
One of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and others during this holiday season is the simple act of being grateful.
Countless research shows the benefits of gratitude, for the mind, body and spirit.
We can pause at odd moments of the day, as well as during the challenging times, to reflect on what we do have to be grateful for.
Gratitude transforms our being. It helps us to release our toxic emotions and magnifies our positive emotions. Gratitude helps us to be more resilient to stress.
It activates the parts of our brains connected to happiness and social bonding. We can improve our physical health and how we respond to and connect with others.
Take a moment now to think of at least one person for whom you are grateful. See that person in your mind’s eye and let yourself experience the feelings of gratitude that they evoke for you. How did they show up for you? Reflect on what it is about them that makes you most grateful and relive those feelings in your heart now.
Think of a situation or a time or circumstance in your life for which you are extremely thankful. Return to that memory and recall all the reasons you were filled with gratitude .
Gratitude for ourselves, while not always easy, also brings more meaning to our existence. Take some time now to reflect on several qualities of your own for which you are grateful. Contemplate a time when you have activated these qualities and improved a life experience for yourself or others.
Think about what you have in store to be grateful for today; not just big things but the small and simple things we too often overlook.
What might a regular gratitude practice in your daily life look like for you? Maybe it's a daily journal exercise or even just to jot down 3 things you are grateful for each day. Gratitude practice can happen during a time of dedicated reflection or even just during a car ride. Maybe you pause and reflect on waking or just before you fall asleep.
Whatever you choose, it can enrich your life in countless ways.
Remember also to recognize gratitude as it’s happening in real time. Today, when you catch yourself feeling grateful, place your hands on your heart and let your gratitude flow.
"Gratitude, I have learned, moves the energy of the universe very fast. You can turn any situation around very quickly by shifting your focus to gratitude. By remembering what you have to be grateful for in this moment, you effectively change your entire experience of life—even in the most painful of circumstances. Gratitude is extremely powerful, and it works every time."