Thanksgiving might look a little different this year for most of us. Many of us will not be traveling to visit family or spending tons of money on big dinners for a house full of guests. With everything that has gone on this year, it may be somewhat difficult to find things that we are grateful for.
2020 has been a stressful year for many of us but don’t let the year steal away your joy. We’ve faced ups-and-downs in the economy; the COVID-19 pandemic; racial unrest across the nation; and even a stressful presidential election.
This year has tested us. It has definitely tested me. As we come into the holidays we are still dealing with the pandemic that has created separation from our loved ones, which has lead to many of us feeling isolated, anxious and stressed. Because of this, I believe thanksgiving this year will be one of the most important we’ve ever faced. Let me tell you why.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be an opportunity to spend time with family and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, which is communion with our loved ones. As humans, we naturally thrive from communion and physical contact with the people that we love. It makes us feel better and promotes healthy chemicals in the brain. For many, we may be separated from our family members for the first time which might mean cooking dinner for one this year.
While this may be the case, technology has made it very convenient for us to adapt and connect. Since we may not be able to see many of our loved ones face- to-face this year, it’s even more necessary to connect with family members by picking up the phone or even using the technologies like Zoom or FaceTime. In fact, families across the nation are celebrating thanksgiving dinners right through Zoom! In times of stress we must adapt and find ways to connect with our loved ones even if that means the pandemic is separating us. In addition to making the conscious opportunity to connect with loved ones using teleconferencing tools, it’s also important you do a self-care check-in with yourself. It’s necessary that we instill an attitude of gratitude for the simple pleasures of life. The pandemic has really created an environment that makes us feel like we are “boxed in.” Many of us are not experiencing the wide variety of life that we are so used to. This gives rise to the opportunity for many of us to be thankful for the experiences and things that we tend to overlook every day. It’s easy for us to focus on what’s missing in our lives but it takes a conscious effort to remember just how good we have it.
Over the last few years, I began to realize that true happiness is dependent upon making the conscious decision to steer away from thoughts of what you don’t have to what you can be grateful for. In fact, research has confirmed that human beings cannot experience emotions of gratefulness and unhappiness at the same time. Once you begin to think of things that you are grateful for, the more grateful you will become! This Thanksgiving make sure you make a conscious effort to be grateful for the things that make you happy in life.
Here’s a quick exercise: Grab a sheet of paper a pencil and start thinking about things that you a grateful for in your life. Write them down and don’t stop until you feel satisfied. Wherever focus goes, energy flows— so this exercise forces you to refocus your mindset on all the things that you tend to overlook in your life. Once you start writing things down your mind will began to consciously find things, relationships, experiences in your life that you tend not to even think twice about. This simple but powerful exercise will guide you towards positive emotions and will help you recognize things you are grateful for throughout the rest of your day. Try this exercise first thing in the morning to really jumpstart your day!
Positively Caviar, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on a message of positivity and optimism. Once a month, our Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a purposeful and positive lifestyle. To learn more about our organization, the nucleus team or how you join our positive movement, visit: staybasedandpositive.com