Thanksgiving often means spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying our favorite comfort foods, and engaging in holiday traditions both new and old. The holiday can be a special time to reconnect with loved ones, and serves as a reminder to reflect on what we are thankful for and an opportunity to express gratitude for the small and large miracles in our lives.
While Thanksgiving is a day devoted to expressing gratitude, it’s important to remember that giving thanks all throughout the holiday season and year makes us resilient to stress, and it helps us to live healthier, happier lives. Use this holiday season as the time to start incorporating gratitude into your daily routine.
Here are 5 ways to say thank you this holiday season:
Reconnect With a Loved One or Friend
It’s too easy to allow ourselves to become consumed by our daily commitments. The result can be spending less and less time authentically connecting with our loved ones. So how do we show our appreciation for those special people and the wonderful things they bring to our lives? By simply dedicating time to them. Giving someone your undivided time and attention is powerful way to show you appreciate them. Block off some time to call a family member, find time to go for a walk with a coworker, or schedule lunch with a friend. Simply be together and put in the effort to stay present in the moment.
Be Friendly to a Stranger
Sometimes we meet the most kind people while completing our everyday tasks; transform your everyday routine into an opportunity for random moments of kindness!
Expressing gratitude towards strangers may seem awkward at first, but it can bring a lot of joy to your day and theirs. Look for chances to say a quick thank you as you travel through your day. When you buy your morning coffee, thank the barista or cashier for helping you start your day on the right foot. When you get on the bus, thank the driver for getting you to your destination safely. There are many people we encounter throughout the day who go unnoticed, so take the time out to express your gratitude.
Be Thankful For the Little Things
During our most stressful times, that awful, nagging inner-voice makes its appearance and attempts to stifle our happiness. This voice can tell us that there’s nothing to be thankful for. Instead of giving this voice power, challenge yourself to look for small things to be grateful for.
Don’t just express gratitude for things that appear to be grand. Express gratitude for the little things you’re grateful for as well, no matter how minuscule they may seem. It can be as simple as catching the train to work on time, beating the afternoon rush on the way home from the grocery store, completing that seemingly impossible exam, or simply waking up the morning; take a moment to appreciate the little things that are too often taken for granted.
Writing notes and letters can be a fun and creative way to express gratitude. It’s typical to write thank you notes for presents and gifts, but reflect on all the other things you could be saying thank you for. You can choose how lengthy or how complex you want your notes to be. Maybe it’s a simple thank you note for something small, or maybe its a heartfelt note about a kind gesture that made your day; say thank you!
Coworkers and peers can be a good place to start. Write a note expressing gratitude for everyday occurrences of kindness. When we give ourselves a moment to reflect and truly consider how thankful we are for the people we see every day, the effect is profound.
A great way to show our gratitude is to flex our generosity muscle. Generosity fosters even more generosity, and creates a circular flow of compassion and gratitude. Generosity improves our mental and physical health, helps us form meaningful connections, and it increases our life expectancy. Simply put, generosity is good for the universe!
Flexing your generosity muscle is quite simple, and despite what holiday advertisements might imply, being generous doesn’t always require money. Go out of your way to be nice to a stranger, volunteer or donate to charity, help your coworker with an assignment, purchase something special for a friend; the choice is yours.
Remember when you are en-route to that Friendsgiving, family gathering, or that office party; this is the time to start incorporating gratitude into your life. It could change your life for the better.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”– Oprah Winfrey
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