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How to Find Peace and Gratitude This Thanksgiving

November 22, 2021 Martha Lueck

Thanksgiving gatherings trigger feelings and emotions for everyone, but not all of those feelings are of peace or gratitude. Some people have wonderful memories of celebrating with childhood friends and relatives. Many of these people feel excited to reunite with loved ones they have not seen in a long time. Other people have unpleasant memories of the holiday. Many of these people feel stressed out, sad, lonely, angry, etc. If you feel anxious or depressed around Thanksgiving, it can be hard to find peace and gratitude. Here are six tips to help you feel better during Thanksgiving.

6 Ways to Find Peace and Gratitude This Thanksgiving

  1. Acknowledge your triggers. If Thanksgiving sparks negative thoughts and feelings for you, it is important to identify your triggers. For instance, if you have lost a loved one around this time of the year, you might feel depressed. If you know that you will see a toxic family member, you might feel anxious. As hard as it is to let yourself think about your triggers and emotions, doing so will allow you to mentally prepare for gatherings.
  2. Talk to trusted family members or friends. Struggling with anxiety and depression can feel very lonely. You might think no one wants to hear about your concerns. But the truth is, someone in your circle might feel the same way you do. By picking out a few people to talk to about grief or a toxic family member, you can come up with ways to get through the festivities together. If you are close to the host, you can ask for permission to invite a friend to the celebration.
  3. Give yourself time to relax. People often make a big deal about the time around this holiday being busy. But it does not have to be busy for you. It is okay to enjoy some time with yourself, especially before a big celebration. Ask a loved one to babysit your child while you take a nap. Bask in a bubble bath. Turn off your phone. Decline a party invitation. Do what makes you feel relaxed so that you will be ready for the holiday activities.
  4. Create a mental health wellness plan with your therapist. Having a mental health wellness plan is essential to cope with mood disorders at any time of the year. This is especially true around Thanksgiving. Your therapist can help you identify your triggers, come up with coping activities, and create a list of supporters to contact. By having coping strategies and support contacts in place, you will feel more confident and relaxed before a gathering.
  5. Set appropriate boundaries. If someone says something that triggers you during your feast, it is okay to set boundaries. Tell the person that you do not feel comfortable talking about a certain topic. If they do not listen, politely excuse yourself from the table. Taking action to maintain your boundaries will help you gain control of your emotions. 
  6. Create a simple gratitude list. At this time of the year, many people share several things that they feel grateful for. Facing negative events and emotions around Thanksgiving can make it difficult for you to find gratitude. If this is the case, come up with two or three things that make you feel good. For instance, do you have specific friends or family members who lift you up? Do you have a favorite memory, hobby, or food? As trivial as these things might seem to others, they are important to you. That is what matters.

Try at least one of these strategies this Thanksgiving. Do you have any of your own coping techniques? If so, help others find peace and gratitude by sharing your ideas in the comments.

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2021, November 22). How to Find Peace and Gratitude This Thanksgiving, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, December 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2021/11/how-to-find-peace-and-gratitude-this-thanksgiving



Author: Martha Lueck

Find Martha on Facebook and Medium.

Lizanne Corbit
November, 23 2021 at 5:00 pm

This is a beautiful read. I love all of your suggestions. Sometimes, I find that when working with gratitude it can even be a helpful (fun) practice to set a random alarm throughout the day to stop and practice gratitude. This, in addition to a more ritualized practice, can help you see things to be grateful for in places you might not have noticed otherwise.

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