Tis The Season: 3 Reasons To Be Grateful. The holiday season is a time where stress can skyrocket. We have so much on our to-do lists, gifts to buy, food to cook, people to see, family to deal with and on and on and on. How easy is it for us to forget all the good things happening during the holidays and focus on all the things that go wrong? Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t wait for the holidays to be over? How about we skip the big get-together this year?” Has this ever come out of your mouth? The holidays don’t have to be a dreaded time of year! All you need is an attitude of gratitude!

IT IS PROVEN: Research has proven that having an attitude of gratitude actually improves our overall sense of happiness and can make us less reactive, less resistant and more peaceful! Who doesn’t want peace during the holidays? For instance, how many parents out there feel like pulling their hair out when their kids are out of school for TWO WHOLE WEEKS? Family are coming in and your house looks like a tornado passed through overnight. We might tend to yell at our kids more than usual because it seems like they aren’t listening and don’t understand the importance of having a clean house for when the family comes in. Therefore, more often than not, we are MORE reactive to small stressors during the holidays. Even better, let’s talk about the terrible “C” word: CHANGE. Do you have holiday traditions that have stayed the same for years and years? What happens when a family member says, “I want to open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.” Isn’t our immediate reaction to resist, resist, resist? The good news is this: an attitude of gratitude has proven to lessen our reactivity to small things as well as our resistance to change! And the icing on the cake: MORE PEACE! Who knows, your attitude of gratitude might just rub off on that complaining family member you sit next to at the dinner table every year!

YOU DON’T WANT TO BE A JOY VACUUM: Being grateful helps redirect our attention to the more positive events and experiences happening during the holidays. There’s always that one family member who can sit down at the dinner table during Christmas dinner and quickly points out how dry the turkey is, how soupy the mashed potatoes are, how everything needs more salt. These types of people can suck the joy out of a holiday dinner before you ever have time to take your first bite. They’re like “Joy Vacuums!” Isn’t it more pleasant when you sit down to dinner with that person who enjoys every bite? How about the person who compliments how pretty the table decorations are or how much they love your chocolate pie?

AVOID THE SEASONAL BLUES: We have all heard of the dreaded holiday depression. This varies among people. Some people become depressed before the holidays really get under way. They’re worried about money, worried about family, sad over the family that won’t be there this holiday. Other people get depressed once the holidays are over. They ate WAY too much dessert, they spent too much money, there was too much family drama. Depression focuses on the woes in life, the down and outs, the regrets. When our focus is on the things or people we are grateful for, it is much more difficult to say “woe is me” or “I hate my life.” Being grateful can save us all from the seasonal blues! Who wants to have a pity party with someone who is happy and thankful for all the wonderful people or things they have?

Challenge yourself to take a moment and reflect on your attitude this season. Are you a “Joy Vacuum?” Do you struggle with the seasonal blues because all you can focus on are the negatives? It’s time to start a new tradition: having an attitude of gratitude!