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Four Things to Be Grateful for This Holiday Season

Published on November 7, 2021

"I am grateful for:" is written at the top of a notepad surrounded by a white candle and white flowers.

Contemplating things to be grateful for in your life is proven to help increase feelings of happiness, promote well-being and decrease stress. As the weather gets colder and we all hunker down for cozy season and holiday celebrations, it’s an excellent time to pause, reflect and consider all the positive things in our lives because — let’s face it — it’s easy to get down in the dumps about the state of the world, especially in this hyper-connected digital age.

Cultivating gratitude is easy when you make it part of your daily practice, whether that’s through journaling, meditation, or simply taking a few minutes out of your day to take a walk and think about things to be grateful for. As the pandemic winds down in most areas of North America, it’s a great time to think about how far we’ve come, and how much there is to look forward to on the horizon.

Things to Be Thankful For

This year, here are four things to be thankful for:

1. Modern Science

Modern science has helped people live longer, healthier lives. Pictured is a sticker that says "I got my COVID-19 vaccine!"

The pandemic has caused more division in society than likely any other event in our lifetimes, but no matter what personal opinions you hold about COVID-19, the vaccine, and public health measures, many of us can agree that the miracles of modern science are helping us all live longer, better and safer lives. Thanks to modern scientific innovations like the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, we’re finally getting back into some sort of “normal” routine — whatever that even means these days.

2. Access to Healthy Food and Water

Healthy food, like this delicious-looking breakfast spread loaded with fresh fruit, is something to be thankful for.

Access to healthy food and clean drinking water is a privilege not everyone lives with. In fact, millions of people live in food deserts, or geographical areas with limited or no access to healthy food. However, many people living in North America are fortunate enough to be able to include this on their gratitude lists. In 2020, 89.5% of U.S. households were considered “food secure,” meaning they had access to enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle, so if you fall under this majority, access to healthy food is one of the things to be grateful for.

3. Inspiring Art

Beautiful, inspiring art is something to be grateful for. In this photo, a man paints on canvases outdoors.

Whether you’re creating it or consuming it, art in all its forms is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Virtually everyone can appreciate a great movie, a moving piece of visual art, or an inspiring song that conveys human emotion in a beautiful way. Cultivating gratitude for art of all kinds can serve as a vivid reminder of your place and purpose in this world, while helping you process complex emotions.

4. Friends and Family

Three happy friends sit on a bench next to a field of tulips. Friends and family are something to be grateful for.

Loneliness has become an epidemic in our society, and some experts have suggested it might be even worse for our health than smoking. Pandemic restrictions certainly didn’t improve the situation, but thankfully, seeing friends and family is fair game again. Even if you only have one person in your life who makes you feel seen, heard and loved, that’s more than enough to be thankful for.

Looking for more fun things to do this holiday season? Here are 5 ways to pay it forward with creative acts of kindness.

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The Author
Mackenzie Patterson is a Toronto-based writer and journalist. She enjoys long walks, iced coffee on tap, and discovering all the latest and greatest health and wellness trends.