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Feel the Gratitude

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By meQuilibrium

You want this year to be different. And it can be! You're invited to join us in this year's challenge to take back the holidays -- and give yourself a more centered season. Every week, we bring you a new challenge that will help you boost your resilience, calm your thoughts, and inspire your efforts to be the best you during the busiest time of year.

This week: Four ways for you to feel more gratitude, which makes you feel just plain great. Consider this your official invite to a happier, healthier holiday.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could put "gratitude" on your shopping list? You could just pick it up along with the cranberry sauce! But the extra effort to feel grateful is worth it. Gratitude can boost positive emotions, lower feelings of depression and stress, and help you sleep better and exercise more. (We promise! Research backs us up.) This Thanksgiving, try these three tips for getting more life-giving gratitude into your holidays.

Write it down. Putting words to paper (or screen) is a bonafide magic trick. Study after study shows that people who journal find themselves in better health and spirits. In fact, our own research shows that people who use their meQ journal see a measurable uptick in their own resilience. To support your gratitude right now, write five sentences about one thing you're grateful for. Take five minutes every day to write about something you're grateful for, and see how you feel after a week.

(Read more on the power of writing to reduce stress.)

Wear it. It helps to have a visual cue reminding you to practice gratitude, whether it's a Post-it at your desk or a note on your bathroom mirror. But for the holidays, why not make it a bit more festive? Choose a tie, a necklace, a sweater, or some other article of clothing or jewelry that sparks gratitude in you whenever you see or feel it.

Send a thank-you note (to yourself). Specifically, try sending a thank-you note to your body. We often ignore our bodies, especially when we sit all day for our jobs. So make note of what in your body feels good, works well, or looks awesome. In this way, you are making gratitude a part of yourself, literally.

(Learn how to de-stress your mind and body with a simple detox.)

Play "Mental Subtraction." We love this exercise from the Greater Good Science Center. When you're at the Thanksgiving, imagine yourself without one person at the table. How would your life be different without them? "By getting a taste of their absence, you should be able to appreciate their presence in your life more deeply -- without actually having to lose them for real," GGSC writes. See the entire exercise here.