By Fabiola Sweet, Nurse Practitioner
Dakota Family Services
When life throws a wrench in your plans, it can be difficult to feel grateful for the little things. We tend to focus on what we want and don't have, over what we want and already have. For example, it's common for people to focus on their lack of material blessings while forgetting about the blessings of a good friendship or caring family members.
Research shows that individuals who count their blessings are more likely to experience joy and happiness. Likewise, those who do not, tend to experience more depression.
The holidays are a wonderful time to practice gratitude, although it's going to be more difficult to spend time with loved ones during a pandemic. However you decide to celebrate the holidays—with family or zooming with grandma from home—take this time to practice gratitude. Here are some tips.
- Rejoice in the Simple Things: Give yourself permission to recognize what you are grateful for. This can be anything–from realizing you cooked the turkey well to the more important things in life, like spending time with the people you love. The best part is this exercise is when you discover you already have what is most important to you. This type of gratitude is a form of mindfulness which helps you shut out unpleasant thoughts and feel less anxiety.
- Grateful Reflection: Every evening, write down three things you are grateful for. Active reflection helps you focus more on the positive aspects of your life. Creating a daily gratitude list helps you remember them long-term as well, so you can be an actively grateful person.
- Make it a Family Tradition: A great way to practice gratitude is by doing so with those you love. When your loved ones sit down to dinner (or when you talk to them on the phone), ask them what makes them grateful this year. Making this a tradition can help you bring your entire family along on your gratitude journey.