Christmas is known as the time to be jolly and is for many, with parties, gift giving, family time and religious celebrations. However, as many of us are aware, it can also be a very difficult time. For example, feeling obliged to spend time with people you don’t see any other time, being alone, experiencing ill health, financial hardship, or missing lost loved ones. Regardless of our situation, using emotional intelligence can enhance our joy at this time. Practicing gratitude is a well-known and now a scientifically proven technique for enhancing and maintaining happiness.
Basically the idea is similar to the northern hemisphere’s Thanksgiving celebration (which originated around the early 17th century, although exactly when and where is still debated) – taking time to reflect and be thankful for what we have.
Purposefully shift your attention to what you are grateful for, appreciate and importantly, feel it.
Society often has a tendency to focus on the bad (just watch the news) which over time has strengthened our individual tendency to do that; we pay attention and focus more on what is not going well at the expense of what is going well. Often this results in biased thinking patterns and we know that thoughts are powerful and affect our emotional and physical well-being. To counteract these influences we can consciously shift our attention ensuring a more balanced perspective and enhance our happiness and well-being. Whilst watching the news we can choose to purposefully look for the helpers and kind acts in the story.
Here are five ways of practicing gratitude this Christmas, and I’m sure you can come up with your own too.
Have a jolly good time playing and reflecting on how fortunate you are.