By now, you’re probably tired of hearing how 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in decades. We are too. As the holidays approach, let’s shift our focus to gratitude. In times of strife, gratitude can serve as a beacon, reminding us there is light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, studies show that focusing on gratitude rather than negativity can direct your brain chemistry toward better mental health. In that spirit, let’s take a look at some ways to incorporate gratitude into our personal and business lives.
Focus on the Positive
Sometimes, our ability to seek gratitude is simply clouded by day-to-day responsibilities and stress, which can be overwhelming. We all have to-do lists that consume our schedules and drive us to complete our tasks. Consider adding something new to your to-do list this year: a daily moment of gratitude. It can be as simple as starting each day identifying what you’re most looking forward to. It might mean keeping a gratitude journal: gratitude journaling has been proven to greatly benefit psychological health and boost positivity. It might take the form of reaching out to someone and let them know how important they are to you.
Use these questions to prompt moments of gratitude into your daily life and consider writing them down or saying them out loud.
- What have I learned recently that has helped me grow?
- What new or ongoing opportunities do I have that I am grateful for?
- What physical abilities do I have but take for granted?
- What did I see today that was beautiful?
- Who was I happy to hear from today and why?
- Who is someone I haven’t heard from in a while that matters to me?
- What am I better at today than I was a year ago?
- What material object do I use every day for which I haven’t considered how thankful I am?
- What has someone done for me recently that I am grateful for?
- What are the three things I am grateful for right now?
- What aspects of my community am I grateful for?
- How many basic needs have I not needed to worry about meeting today?
- What am I looking forward to tomorrow? Next week? Next year?
- What difficult lesson did I have to learn recently that improved me?
- What is a small pleasure that I can indulge in today?
- What is there about today that was better than yesterday?
- What is one thing from my past that made me a better person today?
- What aspect of my personality am I grateful for?
- What is one thing that I’ve enjoyed about my job recently?
- What made me laugh or smile today?
Mental health counselor Zeyda Garcia noted in an NPR interview on the subject of daily gratitude that she always tries to find reasons to be thankful during difficult times “even if it’s just—I’m grateful for the sun that’s shining or being able to wake up….It allowed me to ground myself. It allowed me to remember what was going well, in a world full of chaos.” Finding ways to be grateful for what you have can go a long way to reorient your thinking toward the positive and improve your general mental well-being in both personal and work settings. Use the holidays to remind yourself why gratitude is important, and then incorporate those acknowledgments into your daily life.