Why is it easier to see the negative instead of the positive? During the holiday season, it is common to push past Thanksgiving and focus on the holidays that are in December. Or if there is a focus on Thanksgiving, it is on food and football or our December focus often turns to receiving gifts during Christmas. And do not get me wrong – I am eternally thankful for food and football and gifts! But how can we be thankful no matter our circumstances?
A lot of interest and energy in therapy is put toward personal mindfulness, and I completely agree with needed awareness. I am encouraging myself and you to become aware of personal thankfulness. Below are three simple tips on having mindful thankfulness.
1. Focus on the present moment
Currently if you are reading this, you are alive. You are breathing and able to read. I know it is a simple thought but that alone is something to help with having mindful thankfulness.
2. Focus on your surroundings
Looking outside of yourself can help you take a deep breath and see beauty. It can help with thankfulness both by seeing something outside that is both beautiful or in need. It can allow for gratefulness which is a brother to thankfulness.
3. Focus on your feelings
This might seem surprising as a tip because what if the feelings are negative? But I have found that if I dismiss my feelings, it will be 100% reality that I am not thankful. How can a person be thankful when they are not even aware of their feelings? A major component of mindfulness is a person’s feelings.
I hope that these tips can encourage you this holiday season. These tips will not solve the world’s problems or take away past pain, but it could help with having mindful thankfulness.
By Matt Martin, LMHC