The holiday season is upon us, the time of year when we may be faced with both feelings of warmth and a barrage of advertisements, irritated shoppers and budget anxiety. These mixed messages can make it difficult to get through the season without a chip on your shoulder. Yet, taking time to sit and be fully in the moment can reveal all kinds of missed opportunities for gratitude.
There has been a lot of talk about the science behind gratitude: how it can improve physical health, relationships and reduce stress. If you feel you may be missing out on some of these benefits, take some time out of the rush of the season to reflect on the following questions. Journal, reflect privately or use them at the dinner table with your family. By the end of the list, you will have come up with over 50 reasons to feel grateful for the past and present, as well as hopeful for the future.
Friends and Family
- What unforgettable moments with your family deserve a spread in 2015’s scrapbook?
- When did a friend or family member truly surprise you?
- When was the last time you have a bona fide, infectious belly laugh with your loved ones?
- Which relationships grew this year and what did you do to help this growth?
- What experience this year should lead to a new family tradition?
- What has someone done around the house or within your circle of friends that often goes unnoticed, yet is very much appreciated?
- Who was there for you when you were having a bad day? (And have you shared your appreciation with them?)
- Who challenged you to think differently and grow this year?
- Who pushed you to try something new (and possibly scary)?
- When was the last time you had a pleasant exchange with a stranger?
- What have you accomplished that would make your 2014 self feel happy?
- When have you had the opportunity to be assertive and say what needed to be said?
- How have you utilized the small moments throughout the workday for self-care?
- What are three things you appreciate about that one co-worker who gets on your nerves? (Yes, three things!)
- When were you a part of excellent teamwork and problem-solving this year?
- When did you push through a really challenging experience with work and how did this make you more resilient?
- What about your work space helps you to stay comfortable and productive?
- What overlooked necessity does your income help you pay for?
- What treats have you been able to afford this year?
- What do you appreciate about your employer?
- What is your favorite part of your mornings (whether they’re busy or not)?
- In what ways have you streamlined your routine or organized your space this year?
- How have you used technology to build connections with others?
- What daily tasks make you feel super-accomplished?
- What belongings carry special meaning to you?
- What weekly ritual do you have that connects you to what is really important?
- How do you feel when a loved one shows physical affection after a long day?
- What do you appreciate about your living space?
- What unnoticed beauty can you spot on your daily commute?
- What do mundane daily tasks provide for you each day?
- What necessary changes have you made to your lifestyle this year that has led to more health and happiness?
- What knowledge have you gained about healthy living practices?
- When have you practiced self-care this year, despite desires to engage in unhealthy behaviors?
- What can your body do for you each day that you appreciate?
- In what ways has your body healed this year? What about your mind?
- What outdoor experiences have you had that have filled you with fresh air and adventure?
- What kinds of nourishing foods have you enjoyed recently?
- What fulfilling moments of intimacy have you had recently?
- What movement or exercise goals have you completed this year?
- In what ways has your knowledge and intellect grown this year?
- Where can you find beauty in the natural world in this very moment?
- Whatever force you recognize as larger than yourself, how is it creating peace in your environment?
- What wisdom have you gained, as compared to this time last year?
- How has life challenged you to grow this year?
- What have you let go of recently that has led to more peace and happiness?
- When life slows down, what do you notice around you that brings a smile to your face?
- How have you put your values into action this year?
- What have the times you have spent reflecting on yourself and your growth taught you?
- In the midst of bad news, what can you rely on that reminds you of the good in the world?
- What examples of humanity at its best from this year will go down in history?