Christmas… dare we say it, is just around the corner and each year we seem to be no more prepared than the last. Whilst Christmas should not be defined by the gifts, it is often one of the biggest stresses for many. In only .36 of a second google will give you 5.2 million suggestions for gift guides. There is so much choice, almost too much that some of the simplest gifts of life are overlooked, one of which, is Gratitude. You may be thinking gratitude?!? Really??
Gratitude is the glue that holds both society and relationships together, a bold statement yes, but it is an irrefutable fact that is grounded by research. Gratitude is the emotion that is related to our ability to feel and express thankfulness and appreciation. It has been shown that a daily practice of gratitude has the power to improve all aspects of our wellbeing – physically, emotionally and socially.
The effects of gratitude and their transformative powers come from its links to happiness. Within each of us we have our own unique natural set-point for happiness. If something positive happens through the day that set-point will bounce up and if something less positive happens it will drop down, both eventually returning to that natural equilibrium. A practice of gratitude can change this set point so that our natural level of happiness increases, regardless of our outside circumstances. It can also help us sleep better, increase our mental strength and ability to develop better relationships.
Gratitude makes us value what we have, brings joy into our lives and to all those that surround us.
So how do we give the gift of gratitude?
First it starts with you…One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude for your self is through keeping a gratitude journal. This involves recording the experiences for which you are grateful for. Every day as you get ready to go to bed or when you are taking a matcha moment through the day write down at least 3 things for which you are grateful for. This simple practice for as little as 2 weeks can have lasting positive effects for up to 6 months.
Next share your gratitude…Gift it to your friends and family by making your gratitude a living expression. Write a letter of thanks to a friend for something they may have done for you. If you’re a parent cultivate an environment of gratefulness by teaching your children to appreciate differences in culture and people. Or just simply pause, and be present with your kids so you can enjoy the beauty within that very moment.
Lastly allow yourself to receive gratitude… So often we are so good at giving it can be confronting and sometimes challenging for us to be open to receiving that appreciation. Don’t deflect it, or overthink it. Embrace the love because you are so worthy of it, it’s empowering for yourself and fulfilling for the giver.
So for Christmas this year try giving the gift of gratitude, it truly is a gift that keeps on giving.