It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday, November 22nd. And with it, the start of the Holiday season – a time of a million things to do – out of town company, travel, stressful family dynamics, endless shopping and days and days of cooking. Trying to navigate all this and more can expose us to overwhelm and unrelenting stress. So this year, and every year from now on, I invite you to manage the holiday season better – by incorporating the practice of gratitude into your daily life.
While many may agree with the concept of being grateful, we rarely take the time to stop and really reflect on what it is we are so grateful for. This holiday season, I encourage each one of you to keep a Gratitude Journal, a practice I recommend to many clients. A daily gentle reminder reminder to be thankful for all that enriches our lives can help get us through those difficult days when everything seems to go awry. When you wake up each morning, before you do anything else, stop, reflect, and write down five things that you are grateful for. Continue this through the holidays and hopefully you will adopt this practice as part of your daily routine well into the New Year. Studies show that focusing on the positive can quickly shift your perspective and bring more happiness into your daily life. Use a paper journal such as this one, or download one of the many gratitude apps onto your smartphone – Grateful: A Gratitude Journal and My Gratitude Journal are some of our favorites.
Another way to show gratitude during the Holidays is to incorporate mindful giving into your routine. Have your family members (including young children) go through some of their possessions – identifying those that served them well but are no longer needed. Donate each item to people who you know probably need it more than you do. Openly discuss your gratitude for having the item in the first place, but also for being able to share it with someone in need, passing the energy of love that surrounds that item onto the next person. Some of my favorite holiday memories center around doing this with my children. This truly humbling family activity can inspire gratitude in all.
I also encourage you to bring gratitude into your celebratory family meal. From saying a prayer of gratitude prior to eating, to encouraging everyone around the table to share what it is they are grateful for – you should incorporate multiple opportunities to be grateful into your holidays. Of course I encourage you to serve a Wildatarian-friendly menu – use wild turkey, cornish hen or duck instead of the traditional turkey; add sweet potatoes, squash and beans as great Wildatarian sides. If you are visiting family or friends that may not be following the Wildatarian way of life – that’s okay Be grateful for the opportunity to eat good food with people you love, you can get back to your Wildatarian lifestyle on Friday! Thank both your hosts and the food for another special gratitude moment!
What are some of your favorite ways to practice gratitude? How can you integrate this simple and yet powerful practice into your daily life? While having a “gratitude holiday” – Thanksgiving – is great, this practice should not be limited to only one day a year. Find something to be thankful for every day – your life will be all the better for it.
To the Tru of You,