The holidays can be a time of joy for many but for some people the holidays can also present a wide variety of demands that can trigger stress, depression, and anxiety. Cooking meals, cleaning, shopping, and entertaining guests are just a few of the required activities that can present potential challenges to those struggling with mental health disorders. However, remembering to focus on gratitude can be a major tool to minimize stress accompanying the holidays. Focusing on gratitude can even help people enjoy the holidays more than they ever thought they would.
There are endless ways for us to show gratitude to others, to ourselves, and to a higher power. However, sometimes it can be difficult to take the first step towards an attitude of gratitude without practical ideas. The below gratitude exercises are tried and true ways to practice maintaining a grateful mental state.
Writing down the things you are grateful for is one of the most straightforward approaches to developing gratitude. Think about the past day, few days, or weeks and remember 3-5 things you are grateful for. This is a good method to focus on all of the good things that happened to you within a selected duration of time. Try to journal several times a week. Remembering what you are grateful for gets easier with regular practice.
2. Gratitude Prompts
Gratitude prompts are an awesome tool for organizing yourself when working on practicing gratitude regularly. These prompts provide an opening statement with endless ways to complete the statement by naming something you are grateful for.
Prompts can include:
- I am grateful for the things I hear:
- I am grateful for the things I see:
- I am grateful for these three green/blue/yellow (or other color) things:
- I am grateful for these five animals:
- I am grateful for these three foods:
- I am grateful for this family member:
- I am grateful for this friend:
This is a great tool for helping you figure out many of the things you are grateful for.
3. Gratitude Reflection
Reflection is a crucial element for developing mindfulness and self-awareness. Practicing gratitude reflection regularly will typically lead to an increased sense of well-being.
To practice gratitude reflection follow these steps:
- Focus on achieving a relaxed state of mind. Sit down, take a few slow, deep breaths to center yourself. Let yourself become aware of your immediate environment: all of the things you can see, hear, taste, touch…. “For this, I am grateful!”
- Think about the people in your life to whom you are close; friends, family, or your partner. Say to yourself “For this, I am grateful!”
- Now turn your attention inwards, you are a unique individual. You have the ability to be creative, communicate, and learn from your past to change your future so that you can overcome any pain you may be enduring. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful!”
- Finally, focus on the fact that life itself is a beautiful gift. You have been born into a wonderful time period in human history, you have the gift of general health, well being, and access to tools that will help you grow as a person. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful!”
By now you are hopefully thinking about all of the good things you have to be grateful for in your life. Return to this page whenever you need a reminder about why gratitude is important to practice or need suggestions on practical methods for focusing on developing a greater sense of gratitude.
BlueSky Behavioral Health offers individualized treatment programs for mental health disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder. Our supportive and licensed clinical staff can make a difference in your life. Learn how to live life well – contact our facility today by visiting us online at BlueSkyRecovery.com or calling (888)-822-7348