Could Gratitude Be The Antidote To Your Holiday Stresses?
It’s almost thanksgiving— which means time spent with family, friends and loved ones. All the fun, stress and excitement of the holidays can feel overwhelming. One solution to this stress is to practice gratitude and give thanks. The dictionary definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
Research shows that “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.” So, what can you do to cultivate this mindset during the holiday season? Here are three of our favorite ways to cultivate feelings of gratitude this holiday season.
Write down what you’re thankful for.
A large body of research on gratitude's affects on mood, emotions and happiness center around a consistent gratitude practice that involves writing. Simply jotting down three things you are grateful for each morning will do the trick. If you enjoy journaling, try writing down short stories about the things in your life that bring you joy and happiness. Another way to practice gratitude is to write a letter to someone you are thankful for, elaborating on the why.
Build moments of silence into your schedule.
We all know how hectic concentrated time spent with family can feel. If you need to step out and take a few deep breaths, do it. Try starting a simple meditation practice like breathing in starting to fill up your belly, then exhale out through your chest then belly. This type of breath is appropriately called deep-belly breathing, which can help you calm down and re-center. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated-- it can be as simple as breathing in and out for 5 seconds for a few minutes to come back to your center. You can also try this loving-kindness meditation to send gratitude and positive thoughts to someone or something in your life.
Connect with the world around you.
The beauty of life is in the connections we make. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley created a quiz that can help you determine how connected you are to humanity and how connected you feel to the world around you. Tell people why you are happy to have them in your life, it will almost surely put a smile on your face. We started Voro to connect you with a community that has your back. Simply leave a recommendation, like someone's review, or interact with your neighbor on Voro to help them navigate. If you've seen a rockstar doc in the last three months, why not leave a review to help someone else looking for medical care?
The holidays bring up lots of baggage for us, even if we don't realize it. This is the perfect time to consult with a mental health practitioner or even try out that meditation class you've thought about. It's 100% possible remain calm in the midst of the holiday craziness. Try these practices and let us know how they work for you. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!