“A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have”
Christmas, in my life, has always been a consistent event. Family reunited, presents perfectly wrapped under our tree, the smell of Christmas dinner in the making; something I’ve always looked forward to throughout the year. This year, however, has been a bit different due to some unexpected events. Because of this, Christmas hasn’t been the “picture-perfect” holiday that I’m used to. A couple of days ago I found myself dwelling on all of the negative aspects of this Christmas. I kept thinking how much happier we would all be if certain things played out differently. But what I’ve come to realize is that this way of thinking is simply a case of “the grass is greener on the other side”. Sure, the grass may be greener on the other side. But what good will come out of obsessing over things you have no control over? Of course, sometimes these thoughts are unavoidable. However, I have found a good way of redirecting those negative thoughts.
Gratitude is the act of being thankful for what you have and noticing the simple pleasures in life. Being grateful helps us shift our focus from what our life lacks to what we already have. On the topic of gratitude, I strongly recommend practicing being thankful by writing a daily gratitude list. A close friend suggested that in order to get into the habit of writing one every night, I should send it to her after I write it. Accountability does wonders! For the first week, I set an alarm on my phone each evening to write my list and send it to her. After just one week, I started to look forward to setting aside five minutes of my time to write my list. Now, a month later, writing it has become a habit and instead of having my friend hold me accountable, I hold myself accountable. My lists have become more detailed and thoughtful, and writing them truly makes me feel good regardless of what mood I’m in. I have also discovered that, although it is tougher to write a gratitude list on a bad day, that is when I end up benefitting from it the most. It is a really nice way of allowing myself time to pause and reflect on the positives in my life.
Practicing gratitude has proved particularly useful this Christmas. Despite some setbacks, we have all managed to make the best out of our situation and keep smiling. While it is unusual not to have everyone together in one place, I am grateful for the fact that we have had so many amazing Christmases together in the past and that I know we will have more in the future. So if anyone out there is having a hard time this holiday season, you are definitely not alone. My advice would be to try and find something that you are thankful for this Christmas, even if it is just one thing, and cherish that.