‘Tis the season– for gratitude!
Having the right mindset is important when navigating holiday parties, dinners, and gatherings. Studies show that cultivating an attitude of gratitude can have a number of positive effects on one’s physical and psychological health. Gratitude is associated with greater optimism and happiness; increased self-esteem; strengthened heart health and immunity; decreased stress, anxiety, and depression; and better self-care habits.
The truth is, while these events can be a time of fun and celebration, they can also be a time of increased anxiety and stress for many people, both in navigating food choices as well as potentially difficult relations. For some of us, the holidays can bring up pain and emotional wounds related to feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and rejection. Thus, when it comes to gratitude, it is important to show gratitude for the difficulties as much as the obvious pleasantries.
This month, challenge yourself to a daily gratitude practice. You can write your answers down in a journal, on your computer, or even on your phone. Every day write down “Today I am grateful for…” and then write down as many things as you can think of that happened that day that comes to mind. Write down everything- the good and the bad! Especially make sure to give gratitude for…
- Each meal and food you have available to you to eat and nourish your body
- Your body and all it does for you to keep you alive, moving and healthy
- The challenges and difficulties that provide the opportunity for growth and learning.
- The small things you take for granted on a daily basis, like running water, access to toilets, a heated home, and a vehicle that transports you
At the end of the month, notice how you’re feeling. What improvements or changes do you detect, even subtle ones, as a result of this daily gratitude practice? If you feel good, then keep the practice going! You can even recruit a buddy with who you can share your gratitude lists on an ongoing basis, keeping you accountable to keep the practice going.