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A Surprisingly Simple Way to Make Your Holiday More Meaningful

Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re joining us from outside the United States, we invite you to celebrate the holiday with us by taking a moment to reflect on the many people and things that bless your life each day.

We tend to focus a lot on habits that happen once or even multiple times per day, but some of the most memorable and meaningful times in our lives come around only once a year. Your day-to-day habits can impact the way you experience a holiday, but you can also create habits that are specific to special occasions.

Some of your more frequent habits can prepare you for a holiday experience. If you’ve established a habit of meditation, you may be more present and focused on the moment when spending time with loved ones. If you routinely list or express gratitude, you may be primed to enjoy a holiday like Thanksgiving with an open and thankful heart.

Creating a Holiday Tiny Habit requires that you think about what you want to get out of the celebration. For many of us, we want to connect deeply with our family members and create warm, lasting memories. Unfortunately, many holidays are spent rushing around recording the day through the lens of a camera or smart phone. For a richer, more intentional holiday, put your phone down and focus on savoring each moment. Consider habits that require you to draw on multiple senses; pay attention to the colors, textures, smells and sounds around you. Sample holiday habits include:

When I greet each friend/relative I will make eye contact for 3 seconds.
After I take off my coat I will hug or shake hands with each person.
When I sit down to the meal I will look at each dish on the table.
After I place my napkin on my lap I will think of one thing I am grateful for.
When I lift the fork to my mouth I will inhale the aroma of the food.

By engaging your senses, you also engage your brain and allow it to create “stickier”, more lasting memories. Smell in particular is linked closely with memory and emotion, so the old adage to “stop and smell the roses” is more than just a cliche. As you can see, many of these recipes can also become daily habits, encouraging you to focus on each experience and be fully present in each moment.

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