As we move into November, we start to gear up for the holiday season. This is often the busiest time of year and for a lot of us, the best time of the year. This season can also be a stressful and sad time as well, caused by many different thoughts. We look back and reflect on the year and may think about all our moments of grief or disappointment or missed chances at something.
One solution that works for many people who experience these feelings is to change your thought patterns.
Remember, your brain will believe whatever you tell it. One way to change your thinking is to focus on gratitude and thankfulness. Research on positivity suggests that being grateful can change your state of mind. Researchers who study positive psychology find that those who show gratitude consistently live happier lives. The research also shows that those who are thankful and practice gratitude have more positive emotions, enjoy positive experiences, have better health, deal with hardship better, and have strong relationships. Being thankful helps to change the focus of your thoughts, and this is what helps to create the happier life. It also helps people value what they have instead of always looking for that “one” thing that will bring happiness to them.
There is a difference between being thankful and grateful. The Oxford Dictionary defines “thankful” as “a feeling of being pleased or relieved” and “showing an appreciation for something done or received.” In this definition, grateful is an action. When you think about the thankful feeling and grateful action, how often do you turn that feeling into action? Here are a few small ways in which you can show your gratitude:
- Participate in the Sewing for Charity group at Acacia Creek. This resident-run group has different projects they are working on for different charities. Best part is you don’t even have to know how to sew to give back. They will even teach you how to knit! Join them on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in The Sewing Studio (apt. 1441) or calling Nadine Yother at ext. 3869 for more information.
- Write a thank you note to someone who has done something for you or letting them know how much you value them. Not only will this raise your spirits, but it will also raise theirs.
- Be an active listener. In our busy lives, we sometimes get into the habit of thinking we are listening, but actually, we are half-listening and paying attention to the thoughts running through our minds. Making someone feel like they are heard is one of the best feelings and a great way to show your gratitude to them.
- Giving a thoughtful gift to a friend or neighbor is a great way to show someone how much you appreciate them. A truly thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be an expensive one; a homemade one or a gift of an experience can often be the best gifts.
- Offer your help to someone who has helped you in the past or to someone who you know could use it. Often, people don’t ask for help when then need it or find it difficult to ask for help. Being mindful of those who have helped you and being able to return the gesture to them, is very rewarding.
- Notice the good things people are doing around you and let them know. So often good deeds go unnoticed and letting those know when you see it will lift their day.
During this holiday season when being thankful is at top of mind, I challenge us all to concentrate on showing gratitude. How will you show kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity each day? One small action from you can not only change your spirits but someone else’s too. I thank each of you who live here at Acacia Creek for making it the wonderful community it is and for challenging me to live my best life each day.
Carolee Rodrigo, CTRS, RTC