The end of the year is not only a time for holiday celebrations. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on all we experienced in 2017.
Who helped us along the way?
What inspired us to action?
Where did joy come from?
What made us laugh and cry?
Who changed our lives for the better?
December is the perfect time to devote a few minutes each day to focus on gratitude. The ability to be grateful for all that we have in our lives is truly something to celebrate.
“The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” according to Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis and a leading scientific expert on the science of gratitude. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”
Emmons believes gratitude works because it allows individuals to celebrate the present and be an active participant in their own lives. By valuing and appreciating friends, oneself, situations and circumstances, it focuses the mind on what an individual already has rather than something that’s absent and is needed, he said.
December Gratitude Challenge
1. Write down at least three things you are grateful for each day
Choose either the start or end of your day to reflect and write. Use a journal, create an online document, or put slips of paper in a jar – whatever inspires you. Be specific. Instead of a person’s name, write how that person has impacted your life.
2. Express your gratitude to at least one of the people you are thankful for each day or tell someone about one of the things on your list. For example, if you are grateful to see an amazing sunset, share your experience either in person or online.
3. Enjoy the experience!
The December Gratitude Challenge helps us focus on life's blessings. It takes 21 days to form a habit and December has 31 days. Be kind to yourself if you miss a day. There is so much to be grateful for!