Trade Holiday Stress for a Grateful Heart

Trade Holiday Stress for a Grateful

As I sit here and type I am stressed with schedules, meetings and expectations.  The Holidays should be a time that I focus on the gift of Christ while enjoying family and friends.  Instead I can feel my heart racing wondering how long it will take to finish this post and get to the next thing.  I need to take my own advice, slow down, change the self talk, be more positive and don’t forget to breath.  I am beginning to learn that A heart of gratitude can change everything….yes everything. We all need to develop a heart of gratitude that overflows with joy and hope.  An attitude of gratitude and thankfulness has been shown to help people cope with daily stress better.

Most of us suffer from what I think of as an abundance paradox: Because we have so much, it becomes easy to take our good fortune for granted; as a result, we are more likely to feel disappointed when we don’t get what we want than to feel grateful when we do. – Christine Carter, Ph.D

During the season of Thanksgiving I have wrote several posts on gratitude.  I began to realize the impact that a truly grateful heart could have in my day to day life.  Over the last week as the stress of the holidays has started to press on my chest, gratitude is starting to bring hope back in.  One of the ways that we celebrate the holidays is the traditions of our faith or family.  You can create traditions of gratitude that makes the holidays richer.  Remember you are creating your kids family memories, so create traditions that they will tell stories about.

Gratitude gives you an energy and hope that replaces hurry and stress with joy.  Here are a couple of ideas to help you create traditions of gratitude that will overflow into joy and hope:

  • Look for Ways to Help Others – Sometimes when you notice the pain and suffering of others, the response is gratitude.  You become grateful that God gave you the energy and ability to help.
  • Every Night Ask Each Other This QuestionWhat was the best part of your day?  Make the focus as you slide under the covers for a long winters nap to dream of the sugar plums of a grateful heart.
  • Thank Everyone – You will be amazed at how just a simple smile and thank you to the people that serve you or come into your path will change your heart and their reaction.

    Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. – Colossians 3:17

  • Create a Gratitude Wreath or Garland – Over the next week, every member of the family write on a small colored piece of construction paper what they are thankful for. Try to write something each day so you will have a lot of them.   At the end of the week us the paper to make a wreath or garland that you can hang.  The activity writing each day and the reminder of the wreath can be a great lesson for everyone.
  • Start a Gratitude Journal – Create a journal that sits on the counter that everyone in the family uses to record regularly what they are grateful for.  Spend an evening together as a family before the end of the year and read how blessed you have been.
  • Read the Biblical Christmas Story – The real meaning of Christmas brings true hope.  Read with wonder and gratitude each year the true Christmas story to remind you of the greatest blessing that is available to us all.

Gratitude can really change the energy and focus of your life.  Gratitude is developed when you see your blessings. This holiday season share the blessing you have received with others.

How do you handle the stress of the holiday?  How do you develop an attitude of gratitude?


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2 thoughts on “Trade Holiday Stress for a Grateful Heart

  1. So true and good ideas Mark. This year the last 2 months have busier than normal for our family, with family vacation, 50th anniversary trip and baby dedication(all within 4 weeks). Having now gotten home from the last thing we are hoping for some “normalcy”. I’m not good at making things(the wreath), but I love the idea of the journal. I’m going to present that to everyone and see what they think.

    • Glad to see that it will create some discussion. I think it is so important in the busyness to model and develop a grateful heart. Thanks – have a great holiday with your family.