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Five Ways to Practice Gratitude This Holiday Season

  1. Out Loud

Use meaningful language when speaking to others, or to yourself. Instead of saying, “I have to go to class,” say, “I get to go to class.” It is such a simple change that can remind you how truly fortunate you are. Remind yourself to be grateful for opportunities that are oftentimes taken for granted. Include other words such as thankful, blessed or gifted in your daily speech. These terms serve as reminders of what the world has given you, rather than how you are inherently deserving. Though we all are inherently deserving of happiness and love, it is important to recognize the additional gifts the world supplies to us. 

  1. In Silence

Use meditation as a time to practice gratitude. Get comfortable in a safe and quiet space, focus on your breathing, and slowly close your eyes. Repeat to yourself a sort of mantra to stay focused but also to practice gratitude. Some examples could be the phrase, “I am healthy and strong.” You could also try the past TikTok mantra of, “I am healthy, I am wealthy, I am rich, I am that… boss.” It may sound silly, but it is a fun reminder of your worth as well as the things you can be grateful for, like health and confidence.

  1. With Others

In my family, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition to go around the table and say what we are grateful for. I challenge you to try this activity on days other than Thanksgiving. When you’re at dinner with your family, roommate, or friends, ask them what they are grateful for. Create a space full of intention and gratitude. They may say something you are also grateful for, but hadn’t thought of prior to that discussion. Also, this activity helps strengthen the bond between your family and friends on a deeper level.

  1. On Paper

Journaling is a great way to practice gratitude. Some people keep gratitude journals. Others, like myself, write down what they are grateful for on a notecard and put it on display or keep it in a safe place. Either way, this visual and active practice of gratitude can help enhance your feelings of graciousness in a private but meaningful way.

  1. Through Action

The fifth and final way I recommend practicing gratitude is my favorite way: giving back. During the Holidays, it’s common for people to participate in Salvation Army bell ringing, toy drives, and food donations. Though I believe this should be a year-round practice, the opportunities to give back are multiplied during the holidays. While out shopping, you can easily donate to a bell ringer if you do not have time to sign up to personally ring the bell. Stores often ask if you want to round up to donate to their cause, and schools often put on toy and food drives. Make the conscious effort to pay your blessings forward; you will feel so rewarded afterward and you will be aware of how blessed you are.

Kate Bushman

Illinois '24

I'm a current sophmore at the Univeristy of Illinois pursuing a B.S. in dietetics and a double minor in child health and well-being and psychology. I'm a member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sigma Chapter and serve on the AGD Sigma executive council. Additionally, I am a member of [email protected] and on the fundraising committee. I have a strong passion for service, education, nutrition and mental wellness, and chick-lit.
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