A holiday season filled with gratitude and self-compassion

This unique winter season will look different for many of us as we navigate through the unusual holidays and reflect on the past year. Over the past 11 months many people have been confronted with challenging situations and stressors, and we have all had to flex and strengthen our resiliency muscle.

During this time, it is important to give yourself the gift of self-compassion and if possible, practice gratitude. Research has linked gratitude with a wide range of benefits, including strengthening your immune system and improving sleep patterns, being more helpful and generous, and feeling less lonely and isolated. Gratitude is practiced in many cultures and is incorporated as a spiritual practice.  According to Robert Emmons, psychology professor and gratitude researcher, there are two key components of practicing gratitude:

  1. Affirming that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.
  2. Recognizing that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. Acknowledging that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

This holiday season, I invite you to be self-compassionate and express gratitude to yourself as well as those around you. Focus on the things that help you support your wellbeing: social connection, mindfulness, sleep, movement, healthy eating and spirituality.

Warmest wishes to you, your colleagues and your loved ones.

Keep safe and well,


Resources for practicing self-compassion and gratitude

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
  2. Share your gratitude with others
  3. Use visual reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude.
  4. Register for Search Inside Yourself Training  to learn about emotional intelligence and mindfulness
  5. Learn more about thinking traps and how to break them.

McCullough M. E., Emmons R. A., Tsang J. A. (2002). The grateful disposition: a conceptual and empirical topography. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 82 112–127. 10.1037/0022-3514.82.1.112

Watkins P. C., Uhder J., Pichinevskiy S. (2014). Grateful recounting enchances subjective well-being: the importance of grateful processing. J. Posit. Psychol. 10 91–98. 10.1080/17439760.2014.927909 [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

Why a Grateful Brain Is a Giving One

A Simple Mindful Gratitude Exercise


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