Express gratitude.

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Before setting all of our New Year’s resolutions, how about taking a moment to reflect on the present moment? Think about this past year: what you’ve accomplished, what challenges you’ve dealt with, what decisions you’ve made, and what you have created. Write them down, breathe them in, and acknowledge all that you’ve done.

One thing is for sure: finding time to send out your thanks out into the universe attracts more blessings into your life, and encourages people to be more grateful and happy themselves. Do it in person (even just with a simple hug and some kind words), over the phone (if things have gotten too complicated in person), or over email (when things have gotten really complicated in person). What comes around truly goes around.

The middle of the holidays  is a great time to pause and think about what the holidays we celebrate really symbolize for us. After all of the relatives have left and the last load of dishes has finally been put away, how will we be left feeling? What will all of the hugging, eating, laughing, and giving thanks have added up to, for us to carry with us every day? What will be the leftovers of our leftovers, so to speak?

For me, giving thanks is something I consistently make a conscious effort to do. Sometimes it’s easier said than done–especially in moments when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life. And ironically, the holiday season (the time of year that’s supposed to make us happy and grateful) often one of the most overwhelming times.

Ideally, we would all be genuinely thankful every single day for many, many things. I want to feel thankful for the people that make up my life, for the experiences that I’ve had, for all the wonderful people who are and have been by my side on my journey, for my family, for my friends, for the ability to heal others, and of course, for the opportunity to contribute in some small way.

But sometimes when we’re running around taking care of everyone else, trying to meet deadlines, pay  bills, and juggle holiday gift lists and travel, it’s nearly impossible to see the big picture that illustrates how rich our lives are. Sometimes it feels more like obligations than blessings. By taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and looking around at everything I have, I can shift my thinking and find true gratitude even in the most challenging moments.

As we fly into the peak of the holidays, try to take a step back and recognize the abundance of blessings in your life and, keep giving thanks long after the holidays. Instead of focusing on the stress of things you need to do, think of things you get to do, because you have so many people who need and care about you. Breathe in gratitude and enjoy the beautiful moments this time of the year brings to us. And above all, do whatever you have to do to find time to take care of and nurture yourself to alleviate stress and provide the balance that creates space for joy!