The holiday season is quickly approaching, and with it will come the stirring of many different emotions. Some will be good, and I hope most are for you. But others will be not so good. Regardless of how the holidays have treated us before, the intention remains the same.
You will probably hear this in and out all season long, but what you may not hear about is how to be grateful in times of hardship.
Sure, for a lot of us, Thanksgiving will be warm and fuzzy. I think of clove and nutmeg, pumpkin spiced everything. But for some of us, it will be a little more complicated.
There is good in every situation. Only, the problem may be finding it. Or is that the problem?
I have found that for most of us, the moment of our deepest gratitude comes in a compare and contrast style. You’re driving down the highway and someone is pulled to the side of the road, changing a flat tire. The new tires you just had to shell out a whole paycheck for may have hurt when you signed that dotted line, but you’re not stuck on the side of a dangerous road bruising your knees and banging your knuckles.
Perhaps it’s perspective. We live so much in the moment of now that we often forget the past and future. What brought us to this moment? Why are you here, and where are you going? This moment may be terrible, but it’s also an opportunity. For growth. For maturity. For experience.
Sometimes we experience terrible things that can be used to connect us with others who have had the same experience.
Maybe this holiday season you can be the person to talk someone else off the cliff. Maybe you’re the only person who can, because you’ve been there. You know what it’s like to stare down that chasm and wonder how far it goes before it stops.
But if you just think to turn around, you’ll see the mountain top on the other side.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the mountain top without help. We need more people pointing to it. If you keep staring down that chasm, you’ll never see the mountain. That’s called perspective.
You’ve come this far, and you can be grateful for that.
Remember the things that brought you here. The good and the bad.
Remember those who are less fortunate. Compare and contrast.
Within all of it is an opportunity to help. What does helping do?
It creates gratitude. For everyone involved.
Here are some tips that you can use daily to stay in state of gratitude.
- Wake up every day and vocalize what you are grateful for
- Read or listen to something inspirational
- Give something to somebody every day. Time. Food. Attention. A compliment. A smile. A statement of appreciation.
- Put a smile on your face regardless of the situation. When you smile, out of habit your body tells your brain that you should be happy and eventually, your brain will listen. Your emotional state responds to your physical actions, like Pavlov’s dog salivating at the sound of a bell.