Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. - Ferris Bueller
Thanksgiving and Christmas are normally joyous times spent with friends, family, and loved ones. The weeks leading up to the holidays are filled with family traditions, get-togethers. and delicious foods. This is also the time that we look back at the past year and celebrate our blessings. This year may look a little different for social gatherings but we can still practice mindfulness and gratitude. If we can learn anything from 2020, it is to appreciate our loved ones and show gratitude. So this holiday season, don’t just count your blessings, count your contributions too.
What exactly is gratitude and how can you practice it? Gratitude is regularly defined as a noun- the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful but for this purpose, let's talk about gratitude as a verb. In order to benefit from gratitude, we must turn gratitude into action. Not only will those around you appreciate your positivity, research also shows that people who count their blessings on a regular basis are happier and healthier than those who don’t!
Lower risk of depression
Lower cellular levels of inflammation
Improve and strengthen relationships
Increases social support
Help us find meaning in our work
Improved overall physical health
Decreased blood pressure
With so many benefits to practicing gratitude, what are some of the ways that we can practice?
Caring for family and friends Do you have people in your life that you appreciate? Tell them! You can do this with a simple thank you, a card, or a small act of appreciation.
Self-care Being grateful for your body by taking good care of it. This could be feeding your body nutritious foods, getting enough movement, exercise, and quality sleep. Even if your body is not perfect (no one's is!) you can and should still express gratitude by taking care of your body and appreciating all that your body allows you to do and experience.
Keep a gratitude journal At the end of each day write down three things each day that went well and why. Thinking about what positive impact that had for you or others.
Start your day with gratitude Before you get your day started take the time to say a few things that you are grateful for. If you are struggling, try using prompts like:
I am grateful for these three friends
I am grateful for these three things I am able to do
I am grateful for these three things I have
Practice mindfulness Focus on being fully present in the moment. Being present in the moment helps us to be calm, focused, and rational and not be overwhelmed by all the things around you. In this state, we can be grateful and positive.
Gratitude meditation Unlike a traditional meditation where you intentionally keep your mind clear and focus on your breathing, with gratitude meditation you visualize all the things in your life for which you are grateful.
Do things for others Volunteer for your kids' school, at a soup kitchen, or for a charity you care about. Giving forward is an act of gratitude that will help others and leave you feeling good.
At Integrated Fitness of Dover, we are grateful to be able to help our clients and community eat, move, and live better. We hope you are able to take the time to slow down and have a happy and safe Holiday Season!