Growth

Count Your Blessings

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The holidays are a reminder to take inventory of all the blessings we have in our lives. Making gratitude a habit can have positive benefits to your own happiness, as well as those around you, by stimulating your sense of purpose and helping you forge stronger, more rewarding bonds in your relationships.

During this busy holiday season of celebration, try some of these thanks-based ideas with your family.

Amazing grace
The dinner table is a great place to reflect and reinforce our feelings of gratitude. Before you eat, go around in a cricle and give a group-wide grace. Starting at one end of the table, ask everyone to pray a word of thanks to God for at least one encouraging event or one special person that they’re thankful to have in their life.

Focus on what you have
Write down three positive things you’re grateful for every night before you go to bed. Research shows that gratitude journaling can put you in a dramatically better mood and even prolong that feeling for weeks and months the more you practice. Gratitude opens up your brain to attract positivity like bees to honey.

The write stuff
Think of someone in your life who has made a significant positive impact and write a letter expressing how much that person means to you. If possible, meet this person face-to-face and read the letter aloud. Notice the person’s reaction and savor those moments to recall in the future.

Teachable Moments
Try a new experience with the family and look for teachable moments, such as volunteering at a food bank or handing out gifts at a children’s hospital. Sometimes the best way to appreciate all of the good in our own world is to become more aware of those who are suffering. Gratitude in the face of adversity can help us weather the storms, provide a greater perspective to the plight of others and strengthen our social bonds.