Christmas – Tis the Season to be Jolly. Christmas is often a time of celebration, joy, cheerfulness, and happiness. However, have you often stopped to wonder – WHY? It is a time of gift giving and receiving, of friends and family, of rest and relaxation, and of food. It is a time when we are often grateful. Gratitude is often described as a sense of thankfulness and joy. It can be seen as a personal characteristic, a mood, an emotion, a strength or an attitude. No matter how you think of gratitude, it is consistently linked to personal and relational well-being.
Gratitude is associated with positive emotional experiences (e.g. happiness), helping behaviour towards others, social connectedness, and improved life-satisfaction and optimism. To thoughtfully and intentionally practice gratitude takes spending some time each day shifting your mind from focusing on what you lack to appreciating what you have.
A few practical ways to start practicing gratitude include:
- Counting your blessings: Pick a time each day or week to think about or write about what went right or what you are grateful for. And if you like, share some of the things you are thankful for with a loved one.
- Write a thank you note: Express your thankfulness and appreciation for a person on paper or in an email. And if you would like, share that gratitude with the person by sending or reading it to them.
- Make gratitude part of family life: Spend quality time with loved ones. Play with the kids that extra 5 minutes, cook a special meal for a loved one, or call a family member more often. And make sure you regularly talk about things to be grateful for.
So, what are you grateful for this Christmas?
Jessica Buster (M Clin Psych, Grad Dip Prof Psych, BA Psych Hons) is passionate about creating a caring and safe space to promote effective working relationships. Jessica applies evidence-based interventions in a client focused and collaborative manner to assist children, young people and their families move towards their goals of growth and wellbeing.
Jessica’s clinical training and experience has equipped her with skills in the assessment and treatment for mental health issues. She has gained experience working in roles across non-profit, hospital and private settings. This has included working as an Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Therapist and roles at Guardian Youth Care, Headspace, Westmead Children’s Hospital Psycho-Oncology, and Healthy Minds Happy Kids.
Across all her roles, Jessica has pursued her interest in working with children, adolescents and their families experiencing a range of mental health difficulties including anxiety, emotion regulation difficulties, behavioural difficulties, social difficulties, and disability. She has been able to promote understanding and engagement with these clients by integrating a sense of fun and creativity into treatment.