Nurture Yourself and Practice Gratitude this Holiday Season

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."Rabbi Harold Kushner

Let me begin by saying thank you. I am so grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life, in my community. My heart is full of gratitude. But I am also human, so sometimes I forget and need to remind myself of all the things for which I am thankful.  Gratitude is a practice. And Thanksgiving is a perfect time to express our gratitude. However, sometimes the holidays can be emotional triggers that  stir up sadness, anxiety, frustration, and overall stress which can cloud our awareness of feeling grateful. Here are 5 ways to honor your emotions and shift your focus back to gratitude:

1. Take time to reflect and remember.  How have the holidays affected you in the past? If the holidays have previously been challenging, maybe while dealing with grief or difficult family dynamics, make a plan for this holiday season. Think of ways you can proactively nurture yourself. And put your well-being first. When we take care of ourselves, we have more love and energy to give.

2. Practice loving kindness for yourself. When you notice yourself feeling triggered or overwhelmed with emotion, practice observing yourself with a loving, compassionate heart. Allow yourself to feel what comes up, without judgement of good or bad. And then practice self soothing, the way you would nurture and friend. 

3. Focus on your breath. It's inevitable as humans that we will encounter challenging times, within ourselves and in our environments. Practice conscious breathing as a way to stay present and breathe your way through discomfort and pain. 

4. Make a gratitude list. Seriously, this works! Make a list of the things you are thankful for, and read your list again and again as a reminder. And in moments when you don't have the written list, you can make a mental list and quietly repeat in your mind. Visualize and embody the feelings of gratitude .

5. Practice being enough, having enough.  This can be a mantra, a phrase that you can silently repeat to yourself. "I am enough. I have all that I need." So even if you are in the middle of a big life transition, or feeling lots of uncertainty about the future, or mourning the loss of loved ones or the past, practice being whole and complete in this moment. 

Blessings for a beautiful holiday season. Namaste