Ah November, the season of giving thanks, lots of family time, and food coma naps. November kicks off a Holiday season in which we’re reminded to be thankful each and every day. Ideally, we should all be thankful 365 days a year, but life gets in the way of that sometimes. We get caught up in our jobs, or school and we forget to take a moment and appreciate the good in our lives. Gratitude, however, has long been credited with alleviating depression and anxiety symptoms and boosting your overall happiness. So why not be thankful 365 days a year? Here are 7 simple ways to remember all the great things you have to be thankful for this holiday season!
TAKE A STEP BACK
Go sit in nature, embark on an impromptu journey or anything that can be considered a break from your routine. Remove yourself from your current environment and place yourself on the outskirts. This allows you to really evaluate your situation for what it is. Living in Manhattan, I try to do this once a week. It’s so easy to get buried in everything going on around you, and feel overwhelmed by even the littlest things in life. But something as simple as hopping over to Brooklyn and seeing the skyline instantly puts everything back into perspective. It lets me truly capture the glow that is sometimes hard to recognize when too close up. And then I dive back into the lights, thankful for the city I call home.
KEEP A JOURNAL
This is something my therapist recommended to me and it’s been a huge game changer. While the idea of sitting down to write everyday may be daunting, it is super helpful to remember that it doesn’t have to be a thorough report on every single event and emotion of the day. Instead, start with writing down 3-5 things that you are thankful for. It can be something as simple as someone holding the door for you at the supermarket, anything that is a little reminder of the good in the world. Taking a moment to reflect on that is incredibly powerful and instantly uplifting.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Put in a little effort to grab lunch together or talk for a few minutes on the phone. The stress relieving effects that the mere accompaniment of family and friends can have on a person is sometimes undermined and taken for granted. The next time you are sitting amidst the carefree comfort of loved ones, take a moment to really acknowledge how you feel. That warm feeling of gratitude will start settling in your heart. Ah, you can never get enough of it.
When you are experiencing some internal family issues, the very idea of family might bring you more stress and pain than it does joy, especially during the Holiday season. Remember, it’s OK to feel that way, and it’s not uncommon. You can redefine the word family to simply mean the people who make you happy. That may be your roommates, your best friends, your pets, or your Vinas! Whoever is in your life that you truly love and enjoy can become your family, and that is definitely something to be thankful for. It’s been said that we can’t choose our family, let’s redefine that too!
Go to a homeless shelter, an animal shelter, your local food drive – whatever you have in your community that encourages giving back. Not only will it be a great opportunity to recognize and feel grateful for what you have, but also to express that gratitude. And from the joy that comes from giving back, you might find yourself in double-gratitude mode; being grateful for being able to be grateful!
I am notorious for having RBF, but I’ve found that forcing myself to smile at people instantly brightens my mood. The whole world seems to soften when you smile. It allows you to remember to not take everything so seriously, and that in the grand scheme of things, life is pretty good.
TAKE A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY
Put down your phone and put off posting that Insta story to a little later. While social media is great and has completely changed the world we live in, it also often becomes a source of negative feelings. Take a small hiatus, really unplug. It can be just for a few hours or a few days, whatever works for you. In doing this you’re able to be completely present and enjoy the things that you have.
Enjoy this season of thanks, Vinas!
Is there something you are thankful for? Share it with your vina on the Hey! VINA app now and you won’t be sorry!