Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

This is one of my favorite times of the year, with Thanksgiving just around the corner—the changing of seasons, festive foods, and togetherness with loved ones. It is a time when we are reminded to be thankful for the things our lives include, and the holiday can lift our spirits as being grateful is the essence of Thanksgiving!

We all have the ability to cultivate gratitude, and doing so daily can significantly increase your happiness. It has been shown that expressing gratitude can positively impact your mood and lead to lower rates of stress and depression, improve sleep, and foster resilience even in the worst of times. Rather than complain about the things you think you deserve, take a few moments to focus on all that you have.

Here are some strategies to foster an attitude of gratitude: 

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal:  Writing a list or keeping a gratitude journal is one of the most common ways to practice expressing gratitude. Starting or ending your day with a list of things you are grateful for is a great habit to form!
  2. Get Outdoors:  Going for a nature walk or simply getting outdoors can positively impact how we feel. It’s an opportunity to remember how big and beautiful the world is.
  3. “Pay it Forward”:  Showing an act of gratitude or kindness can help create a cycle of appreciation. This could be opening the door for a stranger, doing a chore before someone requests it, volunteering, or making a Facebook fundraiser.
  4. Reach Out to a Loved One:  Whether it’s a handwritten letter, text message, or post on social media, reach out to a friend or family member to let them know you’re thinking about them. Letting them know that you appreciate them will not only positively impact you but them as well!
  5. Smile:  We all smile in the same language; it’s simple but true. A smile is always an act of kindness.
  6. Live Mindfully:  Try not to worry about the past or future. Just stay present and be mindful of the moment you’re experiencing.
  7. Think Positively:  When you have a negative thought, try to see the positive side of the situation. It doesn’t mean you ignore reality but approach adversity with optimism to have a more productive outcome.
  8. Recognition:  Take note when someone does a good job and provide recognition when it’s warranted. Praise or rewarding effort can lead to higher motivation.

As we shift into the season of thankfulness and gratitude, it’s a natural time to reflect on the year and everything that has happened. The year has been full of unexpected changes, and you’re not alone if you have experienced changes to your usual routine.

The impact of the pandemic has affected all of us, and seeing the silver lining can help build mental strength. Leaning into the attitude of thankfulness of the Thanksgiving season can help more than you realize!

Authored By:  Ilana Sancha, LMSW