Giving Thanks

Happy Belated Thanksgiving, readers!!  Honestly, it’s weird to say this in October since American Thanksgiving is in November, but I guess any reason to be grateful is a great one, right? Psychologists seem to think so, since many studies in recent years list all the fantastic effects of gratefulness on the brain.

I’ve seen this effect, firsthand. A few years ago, when a lot of things in my life got pretty overwhelming, I got into the habit of doing something that has helped me balance out when things get tough. Every night before I go to sleep, I list all the things in my life that I am grateful for.

What goes on this list?  Everything I can possibly think of.

I’m alive. I’m safe. I’m in good health. I have the support of friends and family. I have enough food, clean water, and shelter. I have abilities and the strength to work hard. I am able, financially, to go to university. I’ve learned how to fail. I have overcome challenges.

And so on.

It’s a simple practice that takes just a few minutes of your life, yet, in a time when you feel like nothing is going your way, it can help you to understand that your situation is not as bad as it seems, or as it could be. That won’t make the problem go away, but it will help you be in a better frame of mind when you try to find ways of fixing the problem. And honestly, with all of the causes of stress in each of our lives, a little positivity goes a long way.

Thanksgiving may be filled with great food and time spent with family, but it’s also great for your mind. And that’s not just because it’s a day off from school/work, although that’s definitely a blessing for your mind, too!  I was lucky enough to go home for the weekend and see many of my friends again after what feels like way too long, but even if you spent your weekend away from your loved ones or if your plans didn’t go as you intended, I hope it was a time for you to relax and step away from your daily stresses 🙂

What do you give thanks for?

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