Gratitude is a mood that expresses appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of the simple pleasures and is often independent of monetary worth. Generated from within, expressions of gratitude are an invitation to ebb criticism and keep frustration and anxiety at bay.
Gratitude also has health and relational benefits as well. With this simple act being attributed to improved psychological health, physical wellbeing, enhanced empathy and reduced aggression, according to a collection of studies.
Despite the myriad of benefits, the call to gratitude can be forgotten during the holiday season, which is often attributed as one of the most stressful times of the year. However, it doesn’t have to be – because even in the midst of holiday shopping, work pressure, family interactions, or perhaps loneliness, there are possibilities to notice aspects of life for which we are truly grateful.
Oftentimes, all we need are some prompts and gentle reminders to keep us on track.
Start with these 5 gratitude prompts:
1. Sensory gratitude
Sensory gratitude is connecting to what we are thankful for through our 5 senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and feel. You can simply start this gratitude practice by naming one thing you can see, hear, smell, taste and/or feel that you are thankful for each day. It is also an effective way to remain mindful, as it prompts you to pause and reflect on your present moment.
2. Write down 3 good things
Before going to bed each night, write a list of 3 good things that happened that day. Some days this task will be simple and you’ll have plenty of exciting things to write down. While on others, it may be the simple joys you are tuning in on. Regardless, this practice will teach you to seek out the positives in each day.
3. Shift your perspective
When everything is going well in our lives it’s easy to feel grateful. However, as we’ve all experienced, life doesn’t always go our way. In these times, learning to shift our perspective can be a powerful way to maintain an attitude of gratitude and to build resilience.
To shift your perspective ask yourself:
The aim of this is to move your focus from what hasn’t worked out and instead look for the lesson.
4. Find a gratitude partner
Accountability is a great way to form a new habit. Finding a gratitude partner is a great way to create this accountability for yourself to share appreciation each day. Connect with a friend, colleague, partner or family member, and share what you’re grateful for each other. Aside from accountability, this is also a fantastic way to be inspired by one another’s ideas and perspectives.
5. Acts of kindness
Appreciation of others kindness is an impactful way to notice and be grateful for those around you. Each day challenge yourself to notice the small acts of kindness around you – perhaps a friendly shop assistant, or a colleague making you a cup of tea. Once you start to notice and appreciate these acts of kindness, you will also be better able to return them to others. Which is especially helpful during this time of year, as the holiday season is a great time to start looking beyond ourselves and giving back to others.
With the holiday break in sight, take some time to develop an attitude of gratitude that can positively impact your outlook and show your appreciation for those around you. In doing so, you allow yourself time to appreciate the small pleasures which can bring you solace and joy during a particularly busy time of the year.
What are some things you’re grateful for? Tell us in the comments below.
There comes a time in life when you may be faced with making a choice that could involve taking a chance. Maybe you want to change careers, start your own business or study for a new qualification.