6 Ways to experience more gratitude this Thanksgiving

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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

by Amy Morin

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.


chose to be grateful in black cursive writing with a white background and green leaves and flowers surrounding it

How to start to be more grateful.

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It’s finally November! And that means it is the kick off to the holiday season of 2018! Whether you love or hate the holidays, there is one thing that we can all start doing right now to make our holiday season one to remember.

Practice gratitude.

Our society has become more and more focused on what we don’t have, what we want, materialistic items, money and more. We don’t tend to see or appreciate what is right in front of us.

Every store, commercial, and ad is already trying to sell us something for the holiday season. What is most important, and what most of us tend to forget, is how to be grateful. Being grateful is not something that just comes automatically. It’s something that needs to be practiced just like any other habit or skill you want to become successful in.

How can being grateful impact us?

Some studies even show that people who practice gratitude more often, experience less aches and pains and tend to keep themselves in better health. Gratitude also helps us hold onto the positive emotions in our brains (thankfulness, appreciation, happiness), and lets go of the negative ones (like anger, frustration, and jealousy).

People who are more grateful are more empathetic, have higher self esteem, and even sleep better according to this article on Forbes.com. 

So how do you begin to practice gratitude? Here are some wonderful suggestions by Tchiki Davis over on Psychology Today. 

5 steps to start practicing gratitude today!

Some of her suggestions are:

  1. Make a gratitude list
  2. Write gratitude notes
  3. Write a gratitude letter to someone
  4. Track three good things
  5. Make a gratitude drawing

At Biltmore Psychology and Counseling we are going to commit to practicing gratitude daily. We have some exciting new blog posts and Youtube videos coming soon on the topic as well, so stay tuned!

We want to know, what do you do to stay grateful? Let us know in the comments on Facebook or Youtube, or you can send us an email at info@biltmorecounseling.com !

Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween from Biltmore Psychology and Counseling! We wish you and all your little ghosts and goblins a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!

Young man and woman sitting on couch comforting each other

Support Groups for Infant Loss and Miscarriage in Arizona

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We know that losing a child under any circumstance is heartbreaking and unbearable. We have been talking about infant loss and miscarriage this month, and given some insight over on our Youtube channel on grieving after your loss.

We wanted to give some resources of local support groups in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. When a tragedy like this occurs, we encourage you to reach out to a support group, a therapist, or a friend. No one should have to go through something like this alone. And the more you can find support during this difficult time the better.

We’ve pooled some resources together, and we want to share them with you.

Of course we have wonderful therapists here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling, who specialize in grief and loss. You can read about our team here and call the office with any questions you might have! We’re located in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, and our contact phone is 480-999-7070.

Other resources:


The Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Support Group Pregnancy and infant loss support group at Banner Thunderbird.

Group meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center (5555 W Thunderbird Rd, Glendale). There is no cost to attend. Register online at  or call 602-230-CARE (2273). Call for location or check calendar at hospital information desk. For questions and more information, please contact Bailey Hatch, RNC at bailey.hatch@bannerhealth.com.

The Compassionate Friends – Phoenix Westside Chapter Provides grief support after the loss of a child.

Group meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church (4102 W Union Hills Dr., Glendale). For more information, contact the Chapter Phone Line at 480-316-9098 or email dkelk@cox.net.


The Compassionate Friends – Greater Phoenix Chapter Provides grief support after the loss of a child.

Group meets the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm at Church of the Beatitudes (555 W Glendale Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85021). For more information, contact Diane by phone at 602-631-9256 or email tcfcentralphoenix@outlook.com.


Bereaved Parents Support Group (MISS Foundation) Support group for parents who have lost a child at any age.

Group meets the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at Franciscan Renewal Center (5802 E Lincoln Dr., Scottsdale). Contact Kelli Montgomery at MISS Foundation for more information.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group  Support group for those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy through miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, and neonatal death. Group meets the first Thursday of the month from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at HonorHealth in the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center – 1st Floor Education Center (10460 N 92nd St., Scottsdale). There is no cost to attend, and walk-ins are welcome. For more information, please call 480-323-3413.