It’s that time of year again. We finally get to break out our coziest sweaters and our snuggliest blankets. Pour a nice warm cup of coffee or enjoy a sweet treat – all Pumpkin flavored, of course. Fall is finally here and the days are finally cooling off. The kids refer to this time of year as “Hoodie Season” but, personally, I like to call it “Goodie Season” and not just because of all the pumpkin yumminess either! After the hustle and bustle of the year, this is a season that reminds us to slow down, regroup, and focus keeping a thankful state of mind.
As a divorce concierge and life coach, I work alongside people who are going through some of the toughest times in their lives. Often, people who are going through a separation or divorce may feel lost and overwhelmed, especially during the holiday season. For many, focusing on being thankful might seem like a tall order.
Maybe your ex got your favorite chair in the divorce settlement, maybe the kids will be with the other parent over the holidays for the first time, maybe your finances are shakier than they have been before in your life….In the midst of so many unknowns, it’s easy to focus your energy on the negative things going on around you. Many people may even find themselves asking, “But, what do I have to be thankful for?” And this is why creating a gratitude list means more now than ever.
If you don’t read any other advice I have to share, read this:
According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude (defined as the quality of being thankful and readiness to show appreciation) changes the molecular structure of our brains, and makes us healthier and happier. In addition, there were a number of imaging studies performed using a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery (fMRI) to track the activity in the brain when experiencing the emotions brought on by gratitude. The findings reflected that gratitude boosts the same neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, as Prozac, but without any of the side effects, and all of the FEEL GOOD!
Now, that we know the science behind it, let’s start making thankfulness a new habit in your life right now – today. Set a reminder on your phone, one first thing in the morning and one for before you go to bed. Then, simply take 5-10 seconds to record something that you are thankful for. Start your list with things like; my healthy body, my job, my family. Do this for as long as you want but commit to trying it for at least one solid week.
Don’t wait for the new year, don’t wait for next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Start today. Buy a journal, keep a note on your phone, share it with a friend, or simply speak it into the universe – but everyday ask yourself, “What am I thankful for today?” and answer it honestly.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but by focusing on the positives you have right now means you can usher in the New Year (and New You) with a clear heart, full eyes, and a fresh new perspective.