Thanksgiving 2020: Being grateful during the year of COVID
SAN DIEGO – Feeling grateful in 2020? We all feel the impact of the most auspicious times in the recent history of our Country. With the advent of COVID, endless reports of illnesses, business closures, restrictions on freedom, and political unrest as most have never experienced in their lifetimes, how is it possible, then, to celebrate Thanksgiving in positive spirits?
The truth is that it may require more effort than ever before!
Be grateful for all you have
“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
According to psichi.org “Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves…Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts and their kindness. As such, we are called to gratitude. If we choose to ignore this basic truth, we steer ourselves off course.”
Though it is true that some people are more naturally grateful than others, the gratitude of emotion may be cultivated and integrated into daily living at any time.
“It is possible to feel grateful for loved ones, colleagues, animals, nature and life in general,” according to Psychology Today.
Practicing gratitude and being aware of what is good in life can become a positive habit and an ongoing choice.
Though it is not possible to be in a perpetual state of happiness, it can significantly increase a state of well-being that provides the emotional strength needed to cope with life’s ups and downs, travesties, losses, illnesses of all types, and more.
In fact, The Gratitude Project shared that research, studies conducted over the past 10 years found evidence that mindfully practicing gratitude can alter depressive moods and increase overall health and well-being–it can be a brain-changer and a health-changer!
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
It would be difficult to be in a state of gratitude and simultaneously carry toxic emotions.
Many types of words can describe the meaning of gratitude.
Thesaurus.com considers gratitude as appreciation, acknowledgment, benediction, recognition, and thankfulness–with a variety of words that help define them.
The antithesis of gratitude, or the antonyms, are words such as censure, condemnation, ingratitude, and thanklessness.
Read the synonyms and antonyms very mindfully.
How does each of the words cause you to feel and/or emotionally react?
There is no denying the power of words and their ability to create feelings in ourselves and others, as we each decide what words we wish to choose to speak with others and internally speak to ourselves.
It is now a scientific fact that our thoughts and emotions can create health or illness, depending upon our own mindset and the influence of others and our reactions to them.
“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
It is human to take what is truly good for granted
With holidays and celebrations entered our calendars year after year, celebrating them becomes a natural way of life….the order of things.
There is nothing in decades which has threatened the American way of life as much as the advent of COVID, with the threat of serious illness, required masks, social distancing, extreme disinfecting, spiraling economy, and the risk of death for ourselves and our loved ones, it may seem more difficult to find something to celebrate.
Perhaps creating new traditions, which quite possibly may become a permanent one
Traditions that encourage expressions of gratefulness, appreciation, and thankfulness
Tips to Foster Gratitude, published in Psychology Today, could possibly be helpful for celebrating Thanksgiving during this time of COVID, or spawning creativity and new ideas:
-Keep a journal of or in some way note big and little joys of daily life.
-Write down “three good things”–identify three things that have gone well for you and identify the cause.
-Write thank-you notes to others, or for Veterans and/or homeless.
-Think about people who have inspired you and what about them was most significant.
-Engage in “mental subtraction.” Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.
Remember to share your gratitude with others!
Perhaps go around the Thanksgiving table and inspire others to each take turns expressing what is considered most significant to be grateful for.
Our traditions and holidays have taken on newer and possibly richer meaning this year, transforming expected and enjoyable celebrations into a testimony of survival.
By being grateful for life itself, and the opportunity for perhaps more limited celebrations, sharing Thanksgiving with those dearest to our hearts is a spirit of thanksgiving which will long be remembered and will resound throughout the world uniting all peoples.
“Got no checkbooks, got no banks, still I’d like to express my thanks. I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night”
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at LifeCycles.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
(Main image: Thanks to Priscilla Du Preez @priscilladupreez for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁