By: Ashley Austin
The holidays are officially here. So that means you’re probably busy Christmas shopping and making plans for winter vacation. But don’t let the holidays fly by without acknowledging the reason for the season - showing gratitude. Studies show that feelings of appreciation help boost your immune system, reduce stress, and increase overall well-being. Who knew simple acts of kindness could have such an impact on your health?
Let’s look at a few ways you can show your appreciation and gratitude during the holiday season.
There’s no better way to show your gratitude than through volunteer work. During the holidays, there are many opportunities to lend a helping hand in your community. Not sure how you can volunteer? Here a few ideas:
- Visit a senior citizen home - A sad reality is that many senior citizens don’t receive visitors. Put a merry and bright smile on a senior’s face by paying them a visit this holiday season. Contact your local nursing home for volunteer opportunities.
- Serve meals at a soup kitchen - Shelters can be very crowded during the holidays, so your help will be much appreciated. Visit FoodPantries.org to see which food pantries in your area could use extra volunteers.
- Adopt a family - Make a merry Christmas possible for an underprivileged family. By hosting a family, you will have the opportunity to provide food and Christmas presents to those in need. Check with your local Salvation Army Angel Tree or Boys and Girls Club and ask for opportunities to sponsor a family.
These are not the only ways you can volunteer and show gratitude during the holidays. Visit VolunteerMatch.org to learn about more ways you can serve your community.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal will seriously change your life. It’s said to lower stress levels, improve self-awareness, and increase self-love. Essentially, gratitude journals can reprogram your mind to think positively.
Between Christmas shopping and holiday stress, it can be easy to lose sight of the important things during this time of year. Having a gratitude journal keeps you grounded and aware of how fortunate you are.
Write Hand-Written Thank You Notes
There’s power in the written word — no, there really is. A group of researchers asked participants to write thank you notes to people they appreciated. The findings showed that the written thank you notes made a difference.
Recipients were asked to rate their reaction to receiving the thank you letters. On a scale from one to five, one being indifferent and five being overjoyed, all of them gave fives.
Don’t consider yourself to be the most poetic writer? Don’t worry. The study also found that recipients didn’t care about how well the note was written. The warmth and sincerity were the most important.
A written thank you note is much more personal than a text or email, and it shows you genuinely care. So, stock up on those fancy greeting cards and pour your heart out.
Show Your Gratitude All Year Long
Expressing gratitude should go beyond the holiday season. You can use these ways to show your appreciation throughout the year. Not only will it uplift those around you, but it will improve your health.
How are you expressing your gratitude this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below.