We’re going into the holidays, but things have been different, to say the least. We’ve shifted our daily routines and settled into a new normal. Many of our roles have drastically changed and expanded from what they were before – full-time employee, homeschool teacher, home chef, cloth face covering maker – to name just a few. Wading through this uncertain time of COVID-19 in addition to mastering new roles can leave us drained. But the holidays still mark a very special time of year and a time to be thankful for all that we have.
An easy way to recoup good vibes is to practice gratitude. Gratitude by definition is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Research from Robert Emmons, a scientific expert on gratitude, shows that gratitude has numerous health benefits for our body, mind and community:
- Body: releases feel-good oxytocin, strengthens immune system, improves sleep
- Mind: increases happiness and life satisfaction, lessens feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Community: creates stronger and deepened relationships, supports optimism and self-confidence knowing that others are there for us
Gratitude allows us to see the good in the world. So next time you’re feeling bogged down by all your responsibilities or worried about what the future holds, take a moment to hit pause and say thanks.
Here are a few simple practices to help you get started on reaping those health benefits and cultivating an attitude of gratitude:
- Create a Gratitude List – Think over the past week and write down five things you are grateful for. Read over your list and notice how you feel.
- Practice a Mindful Gratitude Exercise – Find a quiet place in your home, sit in a comfortable position and listen to the recording here.
- Include Your Little Ones – View our MindUP Parent Docent booster lessons and complete a mindful gratitude exercise with your children. Lessons are tailored to fit three age groups: TK-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grades and 4th-5th grades.