Mindfulness and Gratitude- a Holiday Wish

December 21, 2016

The holidays are soon among us and with it can bring a flurry of emotions (as well as a few “snow” flurries in the forecast as well!) The stress of holiday preparedness, coupled with the joy of being with family or the sadness of missed family members, is omnipresent as we wind down yet another year.

There has been a lot of attention paid and science devoted over recent years to the health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. The Google dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” Many studies more than suggest the benefits of practicing mindfulness to include reducing stress, increasing memory function, sharpening focus and gaining more cognitive flexibility. It is believed that increased gratitude is a common result of practicing mindfulness, and that increased gratitude can increase one’s overall happiness – a desired goal for many, especially during a stressful holiday season.

Simply put, gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. During the holiday season, we are inclined to look back at the past year’s successes and failures; making a summarized evaluation of the good and the bad. Potentially this can leave us feeling sad or disappointed. We are hopeful that a new year will bring us more joy than sorry. But it is the day to day we should appreciate; to live in the moment and see the good in every day. Through everyday practice of both mindfulness and gratitude, a powerful combination when practiced together, we can achieve a sustaining level of gratitude to help us better cope as well as to recognize the blessings we have in life.

The benefits of gratitude include both psychological, physical, interpersonal and spiritual components. Practicing gratitude during the holidays might help you to become more energetic and alert, more mentally resilient, less anxious and depressed and can even improve your relationship with a higher power/creator.

According to MindValleyAcademy.com’s blog, Gratitude: Your Complete Guide to Living a Fulfilled, Positive Life, there are 4 ways to practice gratitude

  1. Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal – Write down what you’re grateful for, and really feel it; experience it throughout your body
  2. Practice Mindfulness – Adding mindfulness into a gratitude practice can dramatically improve results, and can make you a happier, more fulfilled person
  3. Do Something Kind – Acts of kindness not only release happy chemicals in your brain, but can cure bad feelings of depression from a low mood. Practicing kindness can turn your mood around, allowing you to achieve feelings of gratitude.
  4. Surround Yourself with Love - MindValleyAcademy.com describes “we don’t choose our families, but we choose the attitudes we take on when we’re around negative people”. We are advised to show compassion to those in need and then offer a positive outlook.

We can be better prepared for happiness despite what challenges we face in 2017. Remember to practice mindfulness and gratitude now and in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!

 

Mindvalley Academy- “Gratitude: Your Complete Guide to Living a Fulfilled, Positive Life.” Mindvalley Academy - Ultimate Personal Growth Online University, 12 Dec. 2017, www.mindvalleyacademy.com/blog/mind/gratitude.