The holiday season is replete with things to be grateful for. Quality time with friends and family, good food, laughter and merriment, and so much more. But have you ever had the experience of having a hard time really, sincerely being able to thank someone? It can be all easy to fall into the pattern of relying on gifts or simply saying “thanks”, but that doesn’t really communicate how thankful you may actually be.
Not many of us would refuse presents, but neither would most of us truly adore them. But, take heart, here are some original ways of showing gratitude this holiday season.
Make Gratitude a Habit
Gratitude comes with practice. Says therapist Patty Behrens, “Practicing gratitude not only takes intention but tangible prompts to remind yourself to be thankful. Connect to something you already do daily. Put a sticky note by your toothbrush to set your intention for the day. Add reminders on your phone to appear daily at a specific time.” You will find that your practice will begin to pay off in the form of less stress and more positive emotions.
Express Your Gratitude
With the myriad ways to communicate, there is really no excuse for not reaching out. Ruth Spalding of Live Well Counseling advises her clients to send notes expressing appreciation, adding that, “even just a quick message via text or email” will suffice. Jennifer Owens, holistic therapist advises practicing more creative acts of kindness. “Write down some positive statements on post-it notes and stick them where someone else will see them.” Just think of how good your significant other will feel when he/ she gets that note saying, “Thanks for last night.” Only kidding. While you’re at it, you may even want to leave some notes of gratitude for yourself!
It doesn’t even have to be for a specific act, gift, or any particular thing that happened recently. Sometimes you just need to thank a close friend or family member simply for being in your life, and giving them a long, affectionate, warm hug is a great way to show that appreciation. Just make sure they know it’s coming and are okay with hugs (not everyone is).
Therapist Erika Labuzan-Lopez suggests asking yourself to “name one thing you are grateful for today. Actually write it down and spend some time thinking about it. It only takes a few minutes, but will bring awareness to you that there are aspects of life to be appreciative of, even when it doesn’t feel like it.” Writing your thoughts down will reinforce them and make them more concrete.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
You deserve to give yourself thanks as well! Labuzan Lopez says, “Give yourself a break and be free to rejoice in ways that feel meaningful to you.” Take some time to relax, indulge in a glass of wine or just treat yourself to a solo date in your favorite restaurant. Do something you truly enjoy so you can feel grateful for having the ability to actually do it. Even if it’s doing your nails, the key is in the appreciation.
So, let us know how you expressed your gratitude today. And if you are grateful for this article, feel free to send a comment. We love your comments and suggestions.