It is pretty much official: the holiday season is underway.

Holidays can be particularly challenging for so many of us, as we navigate spending time with family members who might feel toxic, and we often come up against some loneliness. I validate your lived experience, and I am here to support you. 
While I don’t think it’s a cure-all by ANY means, I DO believe strongly in the power of gratitude practice. Both, personally and professionally, I’ve seen it help cultivate more meaning by finding pockets of joy, decreasing stress and anxiety, and adding to overall wellness.
Here’s the thing though. What IS gratitude, really?
According to Robert Emmons, a renowned gratitude expert, gratitude has two parts:
  1. First, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received.”
  2. Then, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.”
Gratitude allows you to trust in something greater than yourself, and let go of trying to control every detail of your life, which can be anxiety-provoking.

Studies have indicated that those who focused on gratitude had:
  • a more positive and optimistic appraisal of their life
  • greater positive mood
  • decreased negative mood
  • greater sleep quality
  • and a sense of connectedness with others
It turns out that the benefits of saying thank you aren’t just a bunch of fluff. 

My favorite thing about gratitude practice is that it’s not toxic positivity!

We can actually acknowledge our challenges, without minimizing them or shaming ourselves for experiencing them, AND, we can also simultaneously, hold space for the parts of our life that we are thankful for.

Now that we know a bit more about WHAT gratitude is, and WHY we practice, we need to know HOW.

I have a gratitude practice from my new book Quick Calm, and I want to layout that practice for you right here, very simply. This practice will help you cultivate that gratitude in your own life.
Practice #28 from Quick Calm
  1. Set a timer for five minutes.
  2. During these five minutes, write a list of anything you feel gratitude for or want to express thanks for. 
  3. If you are stuck, you can write the same thing over and over again until the buzzer is up. This practice is all about showing up and taking the time to literally write your thanks. 
  4. If you struggle to find something you are grateful for in any given moment, then write that you are grateful for taking the time to express thanks even though you are not sure what you are thankful for. 
  5. Feel free to be specific, such as “I am thankful for the hot water during my shower this morning,” or more general, such as “I am grateful for this day.” 
See if you can devote at least a week to this practice. You might consider extending this practice beyond a week or trying it for only one week and then returning to it at a later time. 
I am so very grateful to YOU for joining me on this journey. I am thankful beyond measure to humbly be OF service in my work. Having you here with me, in Dr. Jen Psych’s BrainCurves Community, is an honor that I appreciate beyond words. 

You make it the beautiful, caring community that it is, and my deepest hope is that we may continue to journey together and rewire for wellness in as little as 5-minutes a day.

If there is ever any content you would like to see, or questions for me, I want you to know that you should never hesitate to reach out to me. 

I LOBE YOU (so freaking much),
XO, Dr. Jen


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Jennifer Wolkin, PhD · 548 E 82nd St · New York, NY 10028 · USA