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It's Not Always Easy to be Grateful

Throughout the year it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at what we don’t have and what we want. We compare ourselves to others—friends, family members, celebrities…

If we spend time on social media, we’re bombarded with posts, pictures and ads flaunting the latest supposed successes of people who have easily lost weight, made thousands of dollars with little effort, bought their second vacation home...

It can be challenging, especially for those suffering from a mental health condition to recognize all the positive things in their lives and be grateful. Maybe we don’t have the perfect body. Perhaps we’re struggling to afford the basics, unable to imagine spending money on anything like a vacation.

The holidays are a time of loneliness and despair for many, especially now with all that’s going on in the world.

But Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be grateful. A key component of gratitude is recognizing the blessings that already exist in our lives. No matter what our situation is right now, we have much to be grateful for. Remembering this makes us happier and able to face the holidays calmly and maybe even enthusiastically.

What are You Grateful for?

Take a few minutes and think of ten things you’re grateful for. Here are a few general categories to get you started:

  • People

  • Pets

  • Health

  • Work

  • Home

  • Weather

  • Abilities

  • Free time

Balancing Your Time and Energy

The holidays are also a time of social connection. We thrive off of community and connecting with others. Yet the time we spend with ourselves, being good to ourselves— practicing self-care and self-love is equally important.

We often overextend ourselves during this time of year, adding more stress to our already stressful lives. Pursuing time for ourselves isn’t selfish. It’s actually crucial. We need to take time for ourselves to have the energy and be in the right state of mind to give to others.

What are you doing to practice self-care and self-love? It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant such as going to a spa for the weekend (although it can be). It can be something as simple as taking five-ten minutes when you get up in the morning to meditate, pray or set positive intentions for the day. Other nurturing activities can include going for a walk, relaxing in a bubble bath or taking a nap.

Throughout the day, pay attention to how you’re feeling. Know when you need space and time for yourself and when you’re ready to be with others in a loving and empowering way.

Then, think of how you might offer a bit of kindness or support to someone who may be suffering this time of year— someone who is alone, with no family or friends to spend the holidays with or a family struggling to have enough food on the table.

Although Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for many, it can also be a time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for.


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