Inside: Having a hard time feeling thankful this year? Here’s what you can be grateful this Thanksgiving even when life feels hard.
A guest post by Cora Gold
As the year goes on, we may get wrapped up in our lives and forget to appreciate everything we have. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect and take the time to enjoy all our blessings.
Life can sometimes feel like a struggle, and we may lose sight of its simple but amazing aspects.
Gathering around the table with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving allows us time to appreciate what we have.
Here’s how to practice gratitude and things to be truly thankful at this special time of year.
How to Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is more important than ever when you are experiencing a difficult time. It can help us navigate and cope when experiencing traumatic events or negative emotions.
In addition, building gratitude can improve your overall well-being and help you to get through hard times.
Here are some steps to follow when learning to practice gratitude:
1. Write it down.
On a piece of paper, write down names or things in your life you are grateful for and why. Need some inspiration for getting started? Check out these helpful gratitude prompts.
2. Talk about it.
Have a conversation with a friend or family member about what you are most thankful for. This can help you emphasize the good around you while inspiring someone else to think about what they most appreciate.
3. Express your appreciation.
Identify someone you want to show gratitude to and tell them why. You can do this over the phone or in person. In a world that constantly tears people down, encouragement and kind words are such a gift.
4. Pay it forward.
Find a way to show appreciation by doing a small favor for someone or helping them out in some way. It feels good to give to others and you may just make their day in the process.
5. Reflect and repeat.
Pause and think about how the gratitude exercises helped and commit to doing them regularly. Better yet, choose to be grateful every day by listing three simple things you’re thankful for. This simple action can have a profound effect on your outlook and well-being.
Things to be Grateful for When Life Feels Hard
A lot can go on in one year. It can be filled with memorable moments but also hard times as well. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to practice gratitude and be thankful.
It is important to allow yourself to acknowledge your feelings, but don’t let the negativity take over and make you lose sight of all the good.
Here is a list of what you could be grateful for this Thanksgiving when life feels hard.
1. Good Health
Have you ever caught a cold and reminisced on the feeling of breathing effortlessly without congestion? This is a prime example of how we can forget our health is one of the most important things to recognize.
Taking care of ourselves is essential to our well-being since we can’t participate in everyday activities without it.
Health can be mental and physical. Your mental state is just as important as your physical one.
If you wake up each day with no concerns or are able to deal with them, take a second to feel thankful for your good health.
2. Family Relationships
Whether you are miles away from your relatives or they still live close by, many of us would not be where we are today without our family.
Family relationships can be complicated and it isn’t always as easy as choosing simply to be grateful for every person that you’re related to. Sadly, some people are toxic and abusive.
This season, feel grateful for the person you were formed into. Our families shape us and we grown and learn who we do (and don’t) want to be through them.
Reflect on the family relationships that you have that you’re grateful for and the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
3. Meaningful Friendships
Sometimes friends can be so close that we consider them family. Having strong and meaningful friendships can get us through hard times and allow us to enjoy life.
Creating memories and sharing a deep relationship outside your family can give you more to feel grateful for.
Friends often know you best and can help you through things. Use this time of year as an opportunity to reflect on all the impactful friendships in your life.
Reach out and express your gratitude to them and let them know how important they are to you.
4. Food on the Table
Food is a way to connect with others. One of the main reasons we gather with our family on Thanksgiving is to sit down and share a meal.
The smells and tastes can trigger childhood memories, unlocking more moments in life you can feel grateful for. You may remember a happy time while indulging in your favorite dessert.
Other than the memories food brings, having it in general is a huge thing to be thankful for. Being able to nourish and feed your body is a privilege and should never be taken for granted.
5. The Little Things
There are so many things in our daily lives that we can be grateful for if we take the time to notice them.
Appreciating the little things can help put things into perspective and value our everyday lives.
Things like a hot shower, sunshine, your favorite song, or hugs make our lives as enjoyable as they are. Come up with your own list of little things that make you smile.
6. A Place to Sleep
Take a moment to feel grateful if you have a roof over your head and a place to sleep. After all, many people do not have homes.
Let gratefulness take over when you realize the good things you have in life. It’s easy to get caught in a comparison game, but consider all of the things to love about your home even if it’s not your ideal.
Focusing on the things that are good, instead of all the potential changes you’d want to make, will help you to feel more grateful for what you already have.
7. Furry Friends
If you are not a people person, you can take time to appreciate your pets. Animals can undoubtedly improve your mood and make you feel relaxed and happy — and can often make you laugh.
Your cat or dog can offer emotional support during hard times. Their love and existence can make a world of difference that you can be thankful for.
8. Life Opportunities
You may have had plenty of opportunities presented to you throughout your life, whether a job, relationship, volunteerism, or travel.
Think back through the years of your life and recall the things that still impact you today. It can be easy to take them for granted when they become a routine part of your everyday life.
Staying Grateful When Life Feels Hard
Gratefulness has the power to lift your spirits. We can go through our lives getting caught up in all the difficulties and forget about the good.
Use Thanksgiving as a time to feel grateful for what you have, and the hard times might start to diminish in the weeks to come. Even if your circumstances don’t change, gratitude can help to shift your outlook going forward.
How do you stay grateful when life feels hard? Share it in the comments section.
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