Create Your Own Meaning of the Holiday Season

“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

Dear Friends,

The holiday season originated in the mid-20th century with a blending of religious holidays, cultural traditions and commercialism surrounding a series of events, activities, experiences, and expenses. From Thanksgiving dinners to Christmas pageants, department store Santas, and much more, expressing the holiday spirit and participating in myriad events became common.

Commercializing the holidays may have boosted the economy, but it also pressured families to expect more, do more, spend more, and experience more. In most people’s mind, this time of year should be filled with fun, wonderment, and awe, but is often wrought with stress, worry, and anxiety. Time that’s supposed to be centered on the magic of the season, family gatherings, and creating special memories is instead characterized by dysfunction and...

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Nurturing a Spirit of Gratitude

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others." -- Cicero

Dear Friends,

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m reminded of the power and benefits of gratitude. Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus, which means "thankful or pleasing." It is the quality of being thankful or the readiness to express appreciation.

Why Gratitude is So Powerful

In positive psychology, gratitude is associated with greater happiness. Gratitude fosters positive feelings, emotions, and experiences; improves overall physical, mental, and emotional health; helps us to deal more effectively with adversity; and helps build strong relationships. Gratitude cannot be demanded, coerced, or requested. Gratitude is not an exchange; it can only be given as a gift.

Gratitude has many other benefits including, but not limited to increased self-esteem, improved relationships, stress reduction, increased resilience, improved sleep quality, increased compassion, and an...

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