From the clinicians and staff at Central Iowa Psychological Services
Sometimes November is the time of year when we start to become overwhelmed and bogged down by life’s demands, and it can often be challenging to “reset” this mindset. In the month when we are called to give thanks for our many blessings, here are some strategies for finding gratitude in our daily lives.
- Identify one way to be kind or nurturing toward yourself and do so at least one or two times each week… If it is a challenge to start this task, maybe ask others about the ways that they do this for themselves.
- Identify one or two people for whom you have extra compassion; how do those feelings toward that person help you to tap into gratitude in your own life.
- Volunteer to help someone or some organization who helps others in greater need.
- Tell the people around you how much you appreciate them; show them gratitude in verbal and nonverbal ways (such as hugs or high fives). Say thank you for specific things (e.g., putting the dishes away or picking up the house).
- Practice loving-kindness meditation (ideas for how to get started can be found online, such as here: https://www.mindful.org/this-loving-kindness-meditation-is-a-radical-act-of-love/).
- Take time for life experiences; social events, concerts, vacations, and the like can provide opportunities for mental rejuvenation, and provide greater long-term benefit than purchasing items.
- Remind yourself of all of the things that you are able to control, and recognize your limits toward those that are not.
- Consider meaningful interactions you have had within the recent past; for example, ask yourself “which connections or experiences have been rejuvenating, or have ‘recharged my battery’?”
- Keep a list of three things that you are grateful for each day. Perhaps set a goal to consider three sources of gratitude first thing in the morning, or in the evening as you are preparing to wind down for the day.
- Practice non-judgment. Part of the process of finding and holding gratitude is letting go of beliefs, attitudes, and biases that can get in the way of that process.