“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar
After realizing that I was rushing to decorate my tree, I came back to the present moment and chose to unwrap each ornament with awe and appreciation. When I slowed down, I understood how very fortunate I am and how grateful I am for all of the wonderful people and experiences I have in my life.
One of the first ornaments I unwrapped was from my colleagues at work. Joanie always organized the Wetmore staff ornament exchange. I am so grateful that she took the time to make our annual potluck so much fun and I have so many treasured ornaments from the yearly exchange. My co-workers also gave amazing ornaments. Sue always had her mom make these beautiful home made needle point ornaments, magnets and hangings. It makes me smile every year when I hang them. Sheri, who gives Martha Stewart a run for her money, gave me this stunning wine bottle filled with Christmas lights and my heart lights up when I plug it in. My good friend Margaret created an exquisite glass blown ornament at the Sonoran Glass School that I deeply love. Then I joined Connie’s group that went each year to the glass studio and it became a family affair with Amber and Chuck creating enchanting glass ornaments and a tree topper. And speaking of glass, my wonderful pledge daughter Karen made this gorgeous stained glass tree and I love hanging it in a window each Christmas. My stepmother Carolyn went above and beyond and sewed Wizard of Oz ornaments that are my favorites to hang on the tree as they have very elaborate details and decorations sewn into them. Vicki made blown eggs that are delicate and intricately painted and Marion made the most amazing snowman from the base of the soda bottle and decorated with hats, scarves and accessories. I am so grateful for my talented friends that shared their gifts and love with me. It makes my tree that much more special because it is filled with the love of family and friends.
The holidays are a perfect time to begin or expand a gratitude practice. As part of my daily Chopra Center meditation, I ask the question “what am I grateful for?” prior to meditation. So at least twice a day, I am thinking about all of the people and things I am grateful for in my life. Many people journal about what they are grateful for or end each day by thinking of three things they are grateful for. Studies are showing that having a gratitude practice is beneficial and improves your sense of well-being. When you are grateful for things in your life, your start to see more things to be grateful for and you are happier and less depressed. Gratitude helps you cope with stress because you have a well of positive thoughts to draw from and a gratitude practice strengthens relationships. May we all find time to honor, affirm and appreciate the positive things and people in life.
Do you have a gratitude practice? Share it with us.
How can you expand your gratitude practice this holiday and next year?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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