If there is no other time of the year that we can consciously sit and reflect on what we have to be grateful for, this is that time. In less than a week we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday that practically demands that we take a moment to be thankful.
Despite that, I realize this is the time of year that often has the opposite effect on a lot of people. As many are bracing to spend hundreds of dollars on Black Friday, others will settle into a great depression. The holiday season can be extremely hard for people who are unemployed. It’s also especially hard for those who have lost loved ones.
Nevertheless, I still contend that we ALL have a reason to be grateful. When times are difficult it’s harder to find any reason to express gratitude. So, if you are finding it difficult to do that, I have a few strategies to help you.
Here are Five Simple Ways to Enjoy the Holidays - regardless of what’s going on in your life.
Be fully present while you’re with your family and loved ones. Make a conscious effort to give whoever you are with your undivided attention. Avoid texting and scrolling your timeline on Facebook while others are talking to you. Use the time to capture real moments with your family instead of taking constant selfies with the sole intention of posting it to social media. In fact, put your phones away. When you give someone your full attention it changes the dynamic of the interaction- for them and for you.
Reflect on your life. Look back over your life to see how far you’ve come. How does your life compare today to how it was even five years ago. I’ll bet there are moments during that time when you couldn’t fathom that you’d be where you are today. Think back to a situation that you didn’t think you would overcome and now you’re standing on the other side of it. Were you single and lonely and now you’re in a committed relationship or married? Were you diagnosed with an illness that you weren’t expected to overcome and now you’re healed? Were you living with friends because your finances were so bad and now you have a place of your own? Were you in college and now you’re working in your field of choice? Give it some serious thought.
Compare yourself to others. I know this sounds odd and it’s not something I typically recommend. But I mean it differently. No matter what your situation is right now, I can assure you there is someone in this world praying for the life you have. Think about it. If you have a car, a home, a family who loves you, good health, a warm house or even running water, those are things so many people desire.
Running water is a commodity that we take for granted in the U.S. There are 780 million people in the world who lack access to clean water. An American taking a five minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day. Statistics show that over 2.5 times more people lack water than live in the U.S.
Finally, if you have your health, you have something that millions of people don’t have. No amount of money in the world can supercede the value of having good health.
Count your blessings – LITERALLY! I encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper and start listing the blessings in your life. Whatever you consider a blessing should be on this list. I challenge you to think beyond material things. As you recall some of life’s true blessings, that list will grow really quickly.
Say “Thank You” – I want you to speak these two words out loud. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say – “Thank You.” It’s one of the simplest things you can do to bring yourself to a place of gratitude. Repeat the phrase until it begins to resonate in your spirit. As it begins to resonate, stay in that space. If you do it right, you will likely be brought to tears. When you can say “Thank You” from a sincere place -despite the circumstances in your life- it will change your life exponentially.
My intention with this blog is to give everyone who reads it a reason to feel grateful. Please don’t allow the holidays to rob you of your joy. Set the intention that this will be the best holiday season ever. If you begin the holiday season from a place of gratitude I guarantee you it will be!
I’m grateful that you have chosen to read this blog! Now, I have a question for you: “What are you grateful for?”