No more crazed busyness. No more fighting with holiday foods. No more dreading another office party. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share strategies for enjoying the holidays with more love, calm, and, well, joy. In this post, we’ve got four ways for you to feel more gratitude, which makes you feel just plain great—but we also want to know your best tips for making truly happy times. Together, we will take back the holidays from stress.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could put “gratitude” on your shopping list? You could just pick it up along with the cranberry sauce! But the extra effort to feel grateful is worth it. Gratitude can boost positive emotions, lower feelings of depression and stress, and help you sleep better and exercise more. (We promise! Research backs us up.) This Thanksgiving, try these three tips for getting more life-giving gratitude into your holidays.
Write it down. Putting words to paper (or screen) is a bonafide magic trick. Study after study shows that people who journal find themselves in better health and spirits. In fact, our own research shows that people who use their meQ journal see a measurable uptick in their own resilience. To support your gratitude right now, write five sentences about one thing you’re grateful for. Take five minutes every day to write about something you’re grateful for, and see how you feel after a week.
(Read more on the power of writing to reduce stress.)
Wear it. It helps to have a visual cue reminding you to feel grateful, like a Post-it at your desk. But for the holidays, why not make it a bit more festive? Choose a tie, a necklace, a sweater, or some other article of clothing or jewelry that sparks gratitude in you whenever you see or feel it.
Send a thank-you note (to yourself). Specifically, try sending a thank-you note to your body. We often ignore our bodies, especially when we sit all day for our jobs. So make note of what in your body feels good, works well, or looks awesome. In this way, you are making gratitude a part of yourself, literally.
(Learn how to de-stress your mind and body with a simple detox.)
Play “Mental Subtraction.” We love this exercise from the Greater Good Science Center. When you’re at the Thanksgiving table, imagine yourself without one person at the table. How would your life be different without them? “By getting a taste of their absence, you should be able to appreciate their presence in your life more deeply—without actually having to lose them for real,” GGA writes. See the entire exercise here.