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Tis The Season… To Be Thankful

shutterstock_229543870With the holidays upon us, our thoughts often turn to thankfulness. However, illness, depression, relationship or financial problems don’t stop simply because the calendar says it’s time to celebrate. When life is difficult do we abandon thoughts of gratefulness or is there a way to be thankful despite life’s difficulties?

There are ways to remain grateful when you just don’t feel like it. There are also many reasons to stay thankful. Many studies have been done extolling the health and psychological benefits of being thankful. Gratitude lowers stress, which can both lower your blood pressure and increase your energy. It promotes a positive mindset to help ward off depression. The positivity that comes from gratitude can even boost your immune system.

So how exactly do you find this gratitude when it isn’t coming naturally? Here are few ways to get you started:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. List 3-5 things, daily or weekly, that you have to be thankful for. This will help you focus on the good things in your life rather than your troubles.
  • Change your self-talk. Focus on the positive aspects of both your day and yourself.
  • Start each day off grateful. Find one thing to be thankful for each morning and you will be starting your day off on a positive note, making it easier to remain hopeful throughout the day.
  • Stop complaining for 21 days. This will help change your focus. Even if you slip up and complain, you’ll be much more aware of how often you do it.
  • Look for hidden opportunities. What seems all bad now,just may allow something good to happen in the future.
  • It can help to remember previous struggles. By looking back on difficult times, you can see how those times did end, and how you came through stronger.
  • Use social media wisely. While we all have our struggles, we all have a tendency to only post the “pretty” side of our life online. When all you see is this one-sided view of others’ lives, it can make yours seem all that worse. When you are on social media, keep in mind that you are only seeing the parts of people’s lives that they want to share with the world. Chances are, they sometimes struggle to be thankful as well.

It may take some searching but making the effort to be grateful offers many benefits. When you practice gratitude, it helps to put life in perspective.Being thankful gives us hope that although things are difficult now, they will get better.

“Grathitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”
Zig Zigler

The Summit Counseling Center
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