With Thanksgiving just a week away, are you busy making shopping lists, planning menus and creating seating charts? What about also setting aside some time to reflect? Think about the people, experiences and circumstances for which you are thankful. The stress of preparing for the holidays sometimes stands in the way of focusing on all we have to be thankful for – so take a deep breath and step back for a moment to relish, with gratitude, the gifts of family and friends. To help you begin, you’ll find some tips for reducing holiday stress on our website.
Even with a difficult economy, we can still find a lot to be grateful about, especially during the holidays, when families and friends traditionally draw together. Let a heartfelt ‘thank you’ be your mantra during this season – you can do it without making a dent in your budget. And, having just observed Veterans Day, please remember those serving our country, who are far away from home during these holidays.
As we pay more attention to the contributions of others and learn not to take good things for granted, we are more aware of all we have to be thankful for. And conveying your gratitude can help you feel happier as well as the person you thank. Sonja Lyubomirsky and other psychologists studying happiness have found that after expressing gratitude you’ll experience more contentment and improved self-esteem as well as closer connections – you’ll even sleep more soundly.
If you decide to express your appreciation for what you have by giving back to your larger community, you can check your local paper or the Internet to find out what the needs are. Some families are adding a new Thanksgiving tradition this year by volunteering at a homeless shelter, serving a holiday meal at a soup kitchen, preparing or driving dinners through a meals-on-wheels program, or visiting those in hospitals and nursing homes who aren’t able to celebrate with family. Talk with your family and friends about what they’d like to do.
Visit us again later this week when we’ll have some tips about how to focus on reducing your stress and acknowledging your gratitude as you get ready for Thanksgiving this year.