With Christmas on the horizon and New Years right around the corner, many people are planning on putting 2021 behind them and starting fresh on the 1st. If you’re feeling the same way, I don’t blame you! 2021 was a challenging year with many ups and downs. I would like to try to turn your attention to those ‘ups’ for a moment. Today, I want to talk about gratitude.
Gratitude is the practise of acknowledging the things, people, and actions you are thankful for. It can be done outwardly or just in your head, and either way is associated with a great deal of wellness benefits!
Researchers at Berkley university found the following benefits of gratitude after asking participants in a study to simply write down the things they were grateful for each day:
- People who regularly reflect on gratitude use a lower percentage of negative emotion words when they speak, suggesting that gratitude may shift your attention away from negative feelings.
- Feelings of gratitude alter brain activity! People who are more grateful show more activity in areas associated with learning and decision making.
- Expressing gratitude regularly trains your brain to be more grateful, so over time we learn to express more gratitude naturally, with less effort.
Gratitude has also been associated with these benefits:
- Increased positive moods and emotions.
- Increased resiliency and empathy.
- Improved relationships.
- Improved sleep.
- Increased self-esteem.
“But how do I practise gratitude?”
Easy! Practising gratitude is as simple as pausing for a moment and thinking about something you appreciate or are thankful for.
To make this a habit, you may want to start a gratitude list which you can add to when you think of new things to be grateful for! My gratitude list from today looks like this:
If you want to step up your gratitude, tell someone ‘Thank you’ and really mean it! It may be the first thank you they hear today.
To help you and your little ones practise gratitude, we’ve made a Gratitude Check-In worksheet, which can be downloaded here. Before you set your resolutions, take time with your family to reflect on the day, the week, the month, and the last year and talk about the things you are thankful for.
From all of us at Crossroads Family Services, we wish you a happy holiday season and look forward to connecting with you in 2022!