Need a gift idea? Give the gift of gratitude. Last December and January, we gave out mason jars. We wanted to promote the idea of creating gratitude jars where you write down daily gratitudes all year long, track positive moments, and open the jar New Year’s Eve. The concept is that you reflect on all the great and grateful things of your last year as you welcome the next. It is a wonderful way to culminate a year and begin a new one with a positive outlook. How many of you stuck with it all year? If the practice trailed off, that’s fine! You have another opportunity to begin again! The great thing is that gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving.
Over the last several months, we have provided tips for practicing gratitude, maintaining the practice, and instilling the idea in others through random acts of kindness.
At the beginning of the year, we featured some ideas of how to create happiness from an intrinsic source versus an extrinsic one. This included:
- Acknowledging your achievements
- Making yourself a priority
- Practicing Mindfulness
- Showcasing your awesomeness
- Surprising yourself
- Counting your wins
We also discussed the concept of gratitude, its many benefits, and how to practice daily gratitude. By listing three things you are grateful for each day, even when it is difficult to do so, it raises the level of oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is the brain’s natural happy “drug” which decreases overall anxiety, improves relationships, and decreases our stress levels. Whether you want to call it the power of positive thinking, prayer, thankfulness, or appreciation, gratitude can bring joy and health into your life, your relationship, and your body.
Remaining grateful, especially in times of conflict, can be difficult to do. These tips can help you strengthen and maintain your gratitude practice:
- Be Specific
- Be Realistic
- Be Creative
- Be Inclusive
Random acts of kindness have also proven to be incredible sources of happiness. Try buying the person in line behind you their cup of coffee. Put anonymous cards in your neighbors mail boxes. Hold the door open for the person behind you. With these tips we hope you are able to create a sense of gratitude in your life and in the lives of others as we move from one year to the next.