5 Ways To Bring A Sense Of Gratitude To Your Holiday
The holiday season is truly overwhelming for most of us. However, we all have the option to turn this time of stress and overstimulation into one of thankfulness and gratitude if we just choose to move through the day (or days) with a sense of mindfulness. After all, the holidays at their roots are about feeling as though you can stop time temporarily and simply focus on connecting with the people you love most. So give these five strategies a try when you head home for the holidays this year and see what happens.
1. Start your morning slow.
You already know that your day is only going to get louder and more hectic as time passes, so why not make a clear effort to start it on a calm, peaceful foot? Wake up even just 30 minutes before the rest of your family, brew a cup of your favorite coffee or tea, and simply sit in silence. Watch the little animals explore your backyard, step outside to feel the crisp fall air on your skin, or even sit on your meditation pillow with a quiet, tranquil mind. From this space, it’s easy to feel a sense of gratitude and optimism before the rest of the world joins you for the full day ahead.
2. Put your phone away during family time.
You’re with your family, and so are the majority of your friends and social network, so you’re literally missing nothing important by loosening that tether to your smartphone. If anything, you’re making it possible for you to engage entirely with the brother you haven’t seen in four months or the new niece you haven’t seen since the day she was born. Maintain your perspective about the purpose of this time, and you’ll be much more likely to feel thankful that you even get this uninterrupted quality time with your family members in the first place.
3. Savor every bite of your favorite side dish.
Yep, your taste buds can connect you with feelings of gratitude, too. Just make sure that you resist the urge to scarf down your food so you can most definitely snag seconds of your aunt’s famous sweet potato casserole before it’s gone. Instead, practice mindful eating. Enjoy the presentation of the meal and the way all of the smells come together into one masterful aroma before you even take a bite. Eat slowly, chewing your food and noticing all of the subtle hints of flavor within one bite. We bet this process will make you fall even more in love with your favorite dish on the table.
4. Ask to hear a story you’ve never heard before.
Another amazing opportunity for connection at the holidays lies with your elders. Whether you throw yourself into a deep conversation with a parent, a grandparent or a distant relative, be sure to give them your full attention and ask them to share a piece of their life with you that you haven’t experienced before. Maybe it’ll arrive in the form of an anecdote about growing up on the family farm or a history lesson about immigrating during the days of WWII. Whatever they offer you, it’s bound to help you feel closer to your family and your own heritage than you did at the beginning of the day, and that sense of grounding and identity can easily breed a sense of gratitude.
5. Take a few minutes for reflection before bedtime.
When all the day’s fun and activities have come to an end, fight feelings of exhaustion for just a few minutes as you sit alone quietly before bedtime and reflect on all of the components of that day that made it special for you and your loved ones. Remember how it felt to hug your grandmother for the first time in a year, picture the smile on your dad’s face as he saw the entire family sitting at the dinner table together, and even giggle over how the dog knocked the pumpkin pie out of your mom’s hands at the end of the meal. Process these beautiful memories so that they hold strong inside of you for years to come. That way, you’ll never lose sight of the fact that you have plenty of things in life to be grateful for.