The holidays are a stressful time. Your routine is off, family schedules get complicated, plans shift as you figure out who is going to do what for Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how organized you might be, it can easily become chaotic and confusing.
To add to that, you have the emotional component of spending time with family.
Though you love each other, you notice yourself and others quickly reverting to old patterns of behavior. Past hurts may resurface as adults seem to act like children again. It’s actually normal to do this. No matter how old you become, returning home is like walking through a time machine.
Some of it can be fun and humorous but some of it can also be painful.
A great way to manage any difficulties is to adopt a practice of gratitude. Being thankful is the single most powerful thing you can do. Here are 5 ways to be thankful this holiday season:
Make time for gratitude
You make time for everything that is important. By making gratitude important, you will naturally create a time and space to practice it.
Write it down
When you are in a negative place, it is hard to think of things to be thankful for off the top of your head. When you are in a place of gratitude, create a list and keep it handy so you can refer to it when needed. If you are traveling, make sure to bring it with you.
Be fully present when saying “thank you”
We say so many things automatically like “thank you” and “sorry” and “excuse me,” all the while we are really thinking about a million other things. Stop, slow down, and when you say “thank you,” let yourself listen to the words and take in that moment of gratitude.
Appreciate your struggles
When you are struggling in a situation or with a particular person, you often see it negatively. What you fail to appreciate is the valuable lesson this situation is bringing in your life. It’s not to say that you are particularly thankful for the negative emotions you feel, but when you develop a practice of being thankful for the struggle, it releases negative attachment which opens up your heart to a whole new way of looking at it.
End your day positively
At the end of a stressful day, find a few moments to reflect on the positive. Set your emotional energy to a place of gratitude. Even a few minutes can help shift you to a positive place and set the tone for a wonderful night of rest. You will be more refreshed for the next day.
May you enjoy this Thanksgiving time with family and friend, remembering that no matter how bad it can get, there are always things to be thankful for.