12 inspiring quotes to turn you towards gratitude this Christmas.
Christmas is not going to be the same. But there is something you can do to make it meaningful and joyful, even if it’s quiet.
You can be grateful. And this will bring you happiness.
Our attitude is one of the few things this Christmas that is ours to control. You can be grateful for what you do have, even amidst all that you are missing. You can choose to see the beauty and kindness around you.
One unique, but beautiful thing about this Christmas is that it will be quiet. There will be time, and space — and stillness. We can find something meaningful in that space if we are willing to spend time there with quiet joyfulness.
I hope these 12 quotes will inspire you, or help you if you need cheering up, and give you reasons to be grateful — and happiness this Christmas in return.
- You have freedom to choose your attitude
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl lost his parents and wife in the Holocaust. Frankl himself suffered greatly as a prisoner in Auschwitz and Dachau. But Frankl says that it was his attitude that saved him. He thought about what gave human life meaning and purpose, and his attitude gave him the positive spirit to transcend his situation and to live with hope. He wrote his book Doctor and the Soul while in the camps, but it was taken from him. He survived to write his ideas from memory again after the war and wrote two inspiring books— Doctor and the Soul and Man’s Search for Meaning.
- Counting your blessings is a gift
The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. — Henry Ward Beecher
We have lots of negativity to focus on this Christmas. The virus and the world around us is filled with conflict and we are alone. We deal with stress and fatigue day after day. The world feels merciless and hopeless. But as you sit in the quietness of your situation, fill the space with thankfulness. It will be a gift to your heart. When I’m sad, gratefulness makes me feel like I’m transcending the sadness, and this gives me hope, motivation and power.
- Rejoice in what you have
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. — Epictetus
Epictetus reminds us to focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t. This Christmas there’s so much that’s missing — traditions left undone, family missing from our table.
Spend time rejoicing in who or what you do have this Christmas, no matter how few. Write letters, put your thoughts into a journal, pray or contemplate. Read something that will uplift you or bring you new knowledge. Spend time listening to music.
- Fear subsides with gratitude
When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears. — Anthony Robbins
I’ve spent so much time in this pandemic being fearful. Fear can fill us and take up all the space. Focussing on gratitude takes away from this focus on fear and gives us courage to carry on. We notice what we have, cherish every small moment, and focus on small endeavours and tiny victories. We can live in the present, being grateful for each moment along the way.
- Gratitude comes in small places
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude. — A. A. Milne
I love the childlike wonder of Piglet’s discovery about himself. I love the memories of childhood that this quote brings too — a time when we didn’t have worldly worries to think about and the holidays were filled with magic. Christmas is about childlike wonder and possibility.
It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant we feel, or helpless to change things. We are all capable of enormous amounts of kindness, love and gratitude. We can open our minds to childlike wonder, share joy with others and fill our small hearts to overflowing.
- Gratitude for good and bad
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
The thing that’s beautiful in this quote is the reminder that “all things contribute to our advancement” — whether they are good or bad, happy or disappointing. It’s not just the successes or the good things that bring us happiness. Our resilience, courage, and understanding of ourselves develop and strengthen because of our struggles.
- Suffering brings light
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. — Rumi
If you’re suffering, you’re not alone. If you find yourself anxious and depressed this Christmas — gratitude therapy is a real thing. There are studies that show that it really does help us psychologically to be grateful. It brings happiness and joy to our mindset, and causes us to focus on what helps us rather than what takes us down.
A recent study of 300 college students who were experiencing depression and anxiety showed that those who wrote gratitude letters, even if they didn’t share them, had lasting effects on MRIs that showed “greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision making”.
I found great resources for gratitude therapy here.
- Gratitude neurologically affects our brain
When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.
By consciously practicing gratitude everyday, we can help these neural pathways to strengthen themselves and ultimately create a permanent grateful and positive nature within ourselves. — Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury
In The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How It Affects Anxiety & Grief we can find that much is being discovered about the power of dopamine and serotonin to help us feel happy, energized, rewarded and understood. To understand that our neural pathways can be strengthened, that we can build upon and work at a positive nature is empowering.
- Humility in the face of Anne’s gratitude
I lie in bed at night, after ending my prayers with the words ‘Ich danke dir für all das Gute und Liebe und Schöne.’ (Thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful.)— Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s gratitude amidst a bleak life of hiding for two years in a small, dark quarters while suffering daily fear is an incredibly inspirational. How could she be grateful in such a situation? Her diary kept her writing and thinking, gave her purpose — its pages were filled with gratitude. Gratitude was her friend and companion, her light and her hope. Writing connected her to herself.
- Thankful for each other
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.— Albert Schweitzer
Christmas is special because the focus becomes on others — our family, our community. It’s a season of sharing and bringing people together in song and spirit. Christmas is about being thoughtful and giving of ourselves, thinking of others in a special way.
In this quiet Christmas, there is still so much that we can do, so much that needs to be done. We can spend our time in small ways — giving phone calls, writing letters, taking time to make someone else feel special. We can be thankful for each person who does that for us.
- Beauty is everywhere
The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see. — Mary Davis
Beauty is all around us. Seek it out.
We can see it out if we open our hearts to the wonder of Christmas and to the wonder of the extraordinary natural world around us.
Ian Dainty’s Email
This was originally posted by Tania Miller on Medium.