Year End Gratitude: 3 Simple Ideas for Life and Career
To be in a place of gratitude is so good for your heart and soul. In between the eggnog, fruitcake and renditions of Auld Lang Syne, I encourage you to carve out time to appreciate and express gratitude for the people, events, and experiences that have made a difference in your life over the past year. I’ve made this an end-of-year ritual, and I highly recommend it.
Many of the great spiritual leaders of our time have taught that fear and negativity cannot exist when love is present, and research confirms those teachings. Studies have found that, when we’re in a state of gratitude and deep appreciation, negative fear-based thoughts evaporate and we experience more mental, social and emotional health.
Researchers have also discovered that gratitude and appreciation affect our physical health as well. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, University of North Carolina researcher and author of Love 2.0, says that love-filled emotions and positive connection with others has a profound affect on our bodies and our longevity. “We’re seeing the ripple affects in the very rhythms of the heart right down to the cells of the immune system,” Fredrickson says.
When it comes to expressing your gratitude, do whatever feels right for you. Here are three simple ideas that can help get you started:
Write an end-of-year gratitude list – Get comfortable and free associate on all the positives in your life – jotting down all that you’re thankful for in a gratitude journal.
Write a letter to yourself – Include all of the positive things that have happened in your life during the past year, and write it as if you were going to send it off to family and friends. While you can certainly send it off, it’s just as powerful to keep it to yourself.
Reach out to family members and friends – In person, by phone, or by greeting card, take the time to let those closest to you know what makes them special and why you love them.
If painful, negative memories crop up as you meditate on the past year, acknowledge the thoughts, but move on to the positive memories that come to mind.
I find that whenever I take time for gratitude and appreciation, those love-filled feelings seem to build on themselves – helping me to see everything in a more positive light going forward.
As we head into 2015, I invite you to take a pause to reflect on the year gone by and to say a heartfelt thank you for all that’s good in your life. Here’s to your New Year!