This is the time of year when families and friends gather to celebrate a variety of holidays.
But it's easy to jump to the negative when ice covers the roads or your flight gets canceled.
Licensed psychologist Gale Hobson, director of Mercy behavioral health, explains the importance of being positive and taking time each day to be thankful for what you have.
Why is it important to take time to be thankful?
People should slow down and count their blessings, Hobson said, in part because research shows it can improve your mental health and the health of people around you.
“We know from research that it really does make a difference,” Hobson said. “That changes the way your brain is processing your thoughts, and that affects your feelings, and therefore you do better.”
It's important to take time for your own mental well-being, even it's for two minutes of the day.
“And then pass that on,” she said.
How does our culture affect how we act during the holidays?
Americans often rush and forget to look around them to appreciate what's good in life, Hobson said.
“We tend to go to the negative, and why that is, I guess there are probably multiple reasons,” she said. “We tend to focus on the unhappiness and the negative.”
Hobson said when you take a positive approach, you will find yourself treating others better.
“Each of us need to look around and say, ‘Wow, that person over there really may need a smile or pat today,' rather than pointing out what you don't like about them,” she said. “Maybe that'll make a big difference on what the person does next.”
What are some ways people can count their blessings?
Exercising and spending time outside are two examples of simple things a person can do to appreciate what's around them. It can start with the moment they get home from work.
“You hug your kids. You hug your husband or wife. You say, ‘How are you?' I think that's the first place to start,” she said. “If we each did that, that would spread.”