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  • Writer's pictureCristina Lima Counselling

A recipe for gratitude

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

This Thanksgiving holiday is bound to be somewhat different.

There is so much to be grateful for, yet there is a whole lot of loss and grief happening all around us.

Scrolling through your social media feed or watching the news on the TV for just a few minutes can leave you a sense of uncertainty, sadness, and hopelessness.

For that very reason, that is, the burden of loss of normalcy, and predictability, and the emotional toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on all of us, is that gratitude becomes even more important this year.

Gratitude is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the feeling or quality of being grateful”, while “grateful” is defined as “showing or expressing thanks, especially to another person”. These definitions point to two components of gratitude: the ‘feeling’ or emotional experience of gratitude, and the ‘being’ grateful, that is, acts or behaviours that show or express that feeling.

Why is feeling grateful, and living with gratitude helpful?

Well, in short, because gratitude can make you physically healthier, better equipped to deal with adversity and happier.

Research in the field of positive psychology has shown that "gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness”*, and that, my friends, is something we can use more of in 2020.

So here are a few ideas that you can try, during and after the Thanksgiving holiday:

- Write down 5-10 names of people, things, or experiences that you are grateful for,

- Sit down for a few minutes, and with your eyes closed, visualize in your mind each of the ‘things’ you wrote about,

- Walk around your home, and find 5-10 things that you are grateful for, or that bring back memories of people, places, or experiences that you are thankful for,

- Go for a walk, and as you walk, notice 5-10 things that make you feel grateful (i.e. trees, air going into your body etc.).

- Write a card, a text message, or a note to one or more people whom you appreciate to let them know why you are grateful to have them in your life.

May you experience a renewed sense of hope and joy as you practice gratitude this Thanksgiving and in the days ahead.

*Extract from theGiving thanks can make you happierarticle, by Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

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