Cultivating Gratitude Through the Holidays and New Year

After a year of pandemic and disasters, the New Year brings a chance for a fresh start. But no matter what 2021 brings, we can lead happier lives if we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, says veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson, author of the best-selling book “The Emotion Code.”

“The holidays are a time of gratitude for all that is beautiful and good,” says Dr. Brad, who has trained thousands of practitioners worldwide in how to overcome emotional baggage from past traumatic and difficult experiences. “We all have stress from the pandemic and from the election, yet to be happy and positive, it’s important to focus on things that make us happy.”

Studies have consistently shown that thankfulness and the expression of gratitude can have profound effects on health, moods, and interpersonal relationships.

“By shifting your focus to what you’re grateful for, you’ll start to see all the blessings in your life more clearly,” Dr. Brad says. He offers this simple tip to start a daily gratitude practice:

Start a Gratitude Journal. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. Or you might choose a nice journal to write in each day. Some come with gratitude prompts already included that might make it easier to begin.

“Start by writing down a few things you’re grateful for. Go into as much detail as you can. If you feel stumped getting started, that’s okay — give yourself time. As you practice gratitude more frequently, you’ll likely be able to identify things you’re grateful for with ease.”

Ideas to get started:

  • Write about a person in your life whom you’re thankful for.
  • What skills or abilities do you have that you’re grateful for?
  • Write a note to someone whom you’re grateful for. (Bonus points if you share the note with them!)
  • What positive changes in your life have happened in the last year?
  • What is something you’re grateful to have learned this week?
  • What are you thankful for about the city you live in? 
  • What does your body allow you to do that you’re grateful for?
  • Write about something you’ve been taking for granted that you’re actually glad is part of your life.

According to Dr. Brad, we can even be grateful for difficulties we have experienced by recognizing how they have helped us grow.

“The challenges and difficulties we experience are what provide us with the ability to grow and overcome. We sometimes appreciate those things more afterwards but if we can recognize their value in the moment, it’s to our benefit.” 

About Dr. Bradley Nelson: Veteran holistic physician Dr. Bradley Nelson (D.C., ret) is one of the world’s foremost experts on natural methods of achieving wellness. He has trained thousands of certified practitioners worldwide to help people overcome physical and emotional discomfort by releasing their emotional baggage. You can find a practitioner of his methods at His best-selling book “The Emotion Code” provides step-by-step instructions for working with the body’s energy healing power. A newly revised and expanded edition of “The Emotion Code” is now available from St. Martin’s Press. For more information and a free Emotion Code Starter Kit, visit

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The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.