November is in full swing, and we are touching on being thankful, feeling grateful and time with family this holiday season. Why is it that when the holidays roll around, we start to focus so much on how to be more thankful and grateful? Yet it seems sometimes people tend to feel more stressed and feel less thankful during the holidays.
It is easy to see why people tend to feel more stress come November, rather than less. Thanksgiving dinner is right around the corner and most of us are planning for family, cooking, and figuring out how to make it all work for the entire family. Whether it’s holiday travel, family stress, or cooking stress, this is definitely a holiday that can become shadowed with dread.
The holidays can also be very sensitive with how controversial our political climate is right now. Not everyone in your family will agree on everything that is happening in our country, and sometimes those differences come out in frustration and anger at big holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving.
According to Amy Morin over at Psychology Today, there are some things you can do to start experiencing a little more gratitude this holiday season.
How to Experience a Little More Gratitude this Season
If you’re likely to get caught up in the whirl of cooking, shopping, and wrapping this holiday season, take steps to reduce your stress and increase your gratitude. Here are a few tips to help you experience reduced stress and increased gratitude over the holidays:
- Acknowledge your values. TV commercials, magazine pictures, and holiday movies portray the ideal holidays, complete with loving family gatherings and delicious meals. If you’re not careful you can easily lose sight of what’s important. Pause long enough to consider what really matters to you this year and commit to living according to those values.
- Aim for good, not perfect. The holidays don’t need to become a contest over who spends the most money or who bakes the best dessert. Give yourself permission to cook one less entree, decorate one less room, or buy one less gift this year.
- Set limits on how you spend your time. Before you declare you have to attend that holiday party, or you have to spend the day decorating, remind yourself it’s a choice. Recognizing you have control over how you spend your time—and who you spend it with—can help you keep your attitude in check. Skipping out on a few activities, may help you feel a lot less stressed.
- Say one thing you’re grateful for every day. Commit to saying one thing you feel grateful for every day. Make it a habit to express gratitude during the holiday season and you might decide to keep it up year-round.
- Send gratitude cards. Send a card that tells individuals why you are grateful to have them in your life. Send one card per day, and don’t worry about getting cards delivered for the holidays. A card that arrives a month or two after the holiday with a personalized note that expresses your gratitude will be more meaningful than a signature slapped on a generic holiday card that arrives on Christmas Eve.
- Reflect for just 60 seconds a day. Feeling thankful doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Set aside one minute a day to notice just a few good things you have in your life. Clean water to drink, a roof over your head, or spare change in your piggy bank are just few of the things some people won’t ever experience.