by Hayley Escobar-Petersen
Expressing an Attitude of Gratitude this Holiday Season
You’ve probably heard it before “be thankful for what you have,” and with Thanksgiving just around the corner big-name marketers are making sure you feel the holiday spirit with every commercial that’s played. The holidays really can bring out the absolute best and even the absolute worst in people. Everyone is dealing with different circumstances from money to family and everything in between-sometimes it is hard to keep the positivity and spirit alive. However, it’s humanly impossible to be a ray of sunshine 110% of the time. We are all entitled to have rough days! The key to these rough days, is making sure they don’t turn into a rough week/month/year/life. Learning to let go, be thankful, and move forward for your own sake can have a significant impact on mood, attitude, energy, and overall quality of life- which you certainly need all of the energy you can get to cook up those holiday dinners!
Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Too often we get tied up in the hustle & bustle of our day-to-day life and forget to think about the multitude of small pieces that make up our puzzle. But seriously, who has the time to stop and be thankful for every little thing throughout the day? Most of us can agree the little bit of “free time” we do have is already allocated to whatever forgotten event there was this month– making it next to impossible to add another thing into our demanding schedules.
If being thankful was really as easy it sounded, then everyone would be doing it and the whole world would be at peace. The reality is, being thankful is hard. Moderating your schedule to fit a new routine is even harder. We tend to be pessimistic by nature, it helps our survival. Being mindful and thankful requires conscious effort. A big part of thankfulness is accepting things for how they are rather than how we think they should be. When we stop and show gratitude to even the smallest part of our day we are forcing ourselves to accept the reality of whatever is in front of us instead of hoping for something different.
To express gratitude, it may be helpful to understand exactly what gratitude even is. According to Oxford Languages gratitude can be defined as, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” It’s slowing down and being aware of all the moving parts around us and appreciating the work and effort it took to make those situations possible for us. By expressing gratitude, we are putting kindness out into the world, fostering a positive outlook, and creating new worthwhile habits that will contribute to our overall wellbeing.
Take a cup of coffee for example. On any given day we pour our cup of coffee, hit the drive-thru, or pop in a coffee pod and call it good. But when we stop to really consider the amount of work that went into getting us that one cup of coffee, we find a moment to be thankful- thankful for the coffee beans that were planted, for the rain that nurtured the beans, the workers who got the beans ground up and packaged for us, the truck drivers who got it into the store/coffee shop, the hands it took to make the cup we’re sipping out of, the water that was used to brew the coffee… Suddenly the one cup of coffee became much bigger than just a cup of coffee. Being thankful can be as simple as being thankful for the coffee beans that provided the cup of coffee to start your day. It doesn’t have to be an extensive grand gesture, it can be a fleeting moment, but a moment worth a lifetime of happiness, nonetheless.
So, start with the cup of coffee, a blade of grass in your front yard, or the paint on the walls of the room you’re in. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but in order for it to stick, you have to start. Start small, be patient, and show yourself grace as you cultivate an attitude of gratitude to use in your daily life, but most importantly, take time to enjoy yourself & this holiday season upon us.
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
– Alphonse Karr
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