Another New Year is just around the corner and December seems to have snuck up on us. If you’re like me, you might be juggling a whole bunch of “traditional” year-end activities: work parties, family get-togethers, and, of course, holiday shopping. Sometimes all of it can feel a bit too much. What should be a happy, joyous time of year unfortunately can be hindered by an overburdened schedule and elevated stress.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to combat end-of-year stress is to step back and recognize the good things we have to be thankful for. It may be difficult to acknowledge the simple little things, which we too often take for granted, but there are some very important reasons to be consciously thankful. Here are three of them:

Reduce stress

“Keeping up with the Joneses” can be very stressful, and in our consumer-driven world it is difficult to avoid the never-ending pursuit of material possessions. Many of us need nothing new yet want more, more, more. This desire for “things” can undermine our happiness and remove all of the pleasure from that which we already have. Being consciously thankful for your current station in life will reduce your longing for the things that you probably don’t need and instead help you to appreciate that which you do.

Helps you to be a better friend

Do you know someone who never seems to be happy with what they have? Do they complain about their job, their home, their health, their activities? Are they hard-pressed to provide reasons why they’re unhappy? Surrounding oneself with people of this nature is stress-inducing, especially at this time of year. To be thankful yourself is to gravitate towards the honestly thankful people who are happy to know you too. Remember: you want to be that friend who is comfortable to be around, who can see the good in simple, kind gestures, and who wants to be a happy person for others.

Helps you to be a healthier person

Regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, and getting adequate sleep are easier to do when you are feeling thankful for what you have. When you focus on the good rather than the bad, your positive outlook will permeate other aspects of your life, particularly your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

 

Take a moment and think about everything for which are thankful. Better yet, write them down and consider keeping a log of the things for which you are thankful for each day. It’s a great habit to start as we enter a New Year.