Tis the season for family, friends and food! However, among all these amazing celebrations and traditions is a core value that we can continue to practice even after the holiday season is over: Gratitude.
Here are 5 ways you can stay grateful this holiday season and beyond!
1. Replace expectation with appreciation.
Take time this season to let go of your should’s and could’s. Instead of being led by your expectations of how things should turn out or expectations you might have for yourself, appreciate where you are and who you are in this moment. Releasing your expectations and trading it for appreciation allows you to stay present. When you come to your yoga mat, release any expectations of how you should feel, how strong you should be or how flexible you could be. Allow yourself to be grateful for the body you were able to bring to your mat. Be thankful for the time you carved out for your practice. Be happy you have the privilege of turning inward to feed your own mental and physical health. Appreciate the world around you and your whole perspective can change.
2. Embrace Challenge
We often take obstacles or limitations in our life and allow them to identify us—whether they’re mental or physical. We start to say things like “I’m not strong,” “I’m not flexible,” or “I’m stressed out.” We let these limitations become who we are and as a result, we end up standing in our own way. Instead of allowing these obstacles and struggles to become real hinderances, embrace them. Accept yourself where you are and accept these challenges as a valuable part of who you are. Realize that obstacles in your path or merely opportunities to grow stronger, stretch further, work harder and release more. Each challenge in your life can be embraced to help you grow. Bow to your struggles and thank them, for without them you might never have realized how strong you can truly become.
3. Make it your Mantra
Being grateful is a step on the path to happiness. But it’s good to remember that there will be hard times along the way. That’s why it’s important to keep gratitude as a daily mantra. Beginning your day with a daily mantra keeps you grounded, connected and present. Take time to recount the things in life you can be thankful for and add things to the list as you go through your day. Keep a list of positive experiences you can look back on when you’re sad or have a hard meeting at work. Whether you woke up in a positive light or are struggling to see the silver linings, let everything, from the leaves changing colors to getting the last scone for your coffee, steer you to gratitude.
4. Inspire Action
Gratitude is an amazing practice to put into, well, practice. It is not only about recounting the things you have that you’re thankful for. Its also about sharing the love, giving back and inspiring action. Thankful for your mom? Give her a call! Thankful for your health? Grab a friend who’s never been to yoga and share the experience. Grateful for a big Thanksgiving dinner? Volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods to those in need. Let your gratitude shine bright, inspire others and effect positive change in the world.
5. Stay Present
Release attachment to the future and the past. Be connected to the present because—as cliche as it is—the present is a gift. Embrace the moments and the people around you. Enjoy the good things and know the bad things will pass. Allow yourself to take everything one step at a time, stay grounded, and be grateful!
No matter the season, gratitude is an amazing practice to keep. During this holiday, enjoy and embrace the things in your life that make you thankful. Keep this practice going throughout your day, throughout your week, throughout the rest of the year and beyond!
What are you thankful for this holiday season?
Also by Alyssa: How Surrender Makes You Stronger
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Photo: Bao Quan via Unsplash