Health Wise: Inviting Gratitude During the Season of Thanksgiving

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With the chaos of COVID and elections, a lot of us might be surprised to know it’s almost Thanksgiving! But it is in fact a week away!

In times of stress, change, and loss, it can be challenging to find things to be thankful for. As we focus on how far we still are from the end of the pandemic it’s so easy to focus on what we miss, what we have lost, and what we wish was different. We repeat these things in our minds daily, especially as progress appears to halt or move backwards. While i may be true that each of us has had some losses during this time, dwelling on the losses doesn’t do much to bring anything back or change anything for the better. All it does is block us from noticing positives and makes life feel exclusively negative and painful.

This Thanksgiving, more than ever before, we ask you to focus on gratitude. Let’s try to bring attention to the good things!

Let’s talk about some ways to invite gratitude into our minds in the coming week:

  1. Gratitude journaling - make a goal to write 3 things you are grateful for each day. This is a great activity to do in the evenings to look back on any day in a more positive way, and fall asleep grateful. Some days may be more negative, but challenge yourself to find positives anyway. Sometimes, a lesson learned or a positive coping skill used during a bad situation is a positive!
  2. Gratitude mindfulness meditation - there are many different ways to use mindfulness and meditation to bring awareness to things we are grateful for in our lives. Meditation can sound scary or boring, but it can be anything that works for you - sitting down with a cup of tea or on a balcony listening to nature sounds, for example. Take that time, in that calm moment, to bring attention purposefully to what you are grateful for today, this week, this year. Breathe and let gratitude flow into you and regret, sadness and negativity flow out.
  3. Gratitude jar - cut out strips of paper and write down things you’re grateful for, one per strip, and put them in a jar/box/envelope. Decorate the container. Keep adding as things come to mind. Pull out strips when you’re feeling down and read them. This is a great activity for any age!
  4. Gratitude for others - set a goal to text, call, or write a letter (or email) to thank others for things, big and small, that they have done to make your life better.

Current events have many us feel like we lack control in our lives, and having stress and negative thoughts can make us feel we don’t even have control over our minds and moods. The above activities give us control over where we direct our energy and attention. In other words, we can choose gratitude and actively bring positive things to the foreground, letting the negatives slip to the back or fall away entirely.

Please join us in giving thanks this week and in the weeks and months to come. We know this holiday season is different, and we want to help make things feel less negative. We are grateful for our community and for being able to reach out and support so many of you during this difficult time, and we wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

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