Dayton Kingery — Thankful for Being Thankful
This year’s Thanksgiving will likely be very special — and at the same time challenging — for many people. Coming up to nearly two years of pandemic-ridden angst and trauma will feel like somewhat of a milestone on the one hand. But on the other hand, for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, their approach to the festivities could be subdued. In this article, as we approach Thanksgiving, we offer three simple ideas on how to be thankful in trying times
1. Write a Gratitude List
Sometimes life can feel incredibly overwhelming which can lead to depression. This often happens when a shocking event takes place — like the sudden death of a loved one. Being told to ‘move on,’ ‘get over it,’ or ‘forget about it,’ is unhelpful at best, painful at worst. What can be useful though is to write a gratitude list, every single day. Initially it may be extremely hard to find even one thing to be grateful for — after all, seemingly the worst thing ever has happened. So, start with something as simple as ‘The air I am breathing is fresh,’ or ‘the coffee I made this morning enlivens my senses.’ Slowly the list will likely get longer and easier.
2. Find Something Beautiful
Again, this can seem impossible initially. How can there be beauty in such a hard world, one may be thinking. But often when we have encountered a traumatic event, we actually become more aware of other elements of beauty that we never would have seen. Perhaps you’ve never been an animal lover but you go for a walk one day and a cute puppy randomly comes up to say ‘Hi.’ Or you are sitting on a park bench and a toddler mistakes you for his/her parent and has the sweetest smile. Yes, it can be a harsh world indeed, but simultaneously there is so much beauty in it.
3. Be Thankful for Thanksgiving
When there does not seem to be anything to be thankful for, as you put the last of the stuffing into the turkey while you watch The Macy’s Day Parade, break that down and think of every tiny part that went in to making it possible: the food you can afford to buy; the energy you have to prepare the food; the working electricity in your home and ultimately all the people that will join you to give thanks.
And when you join everyone at the table, congratulate yourself on managing to be thankful…for being thankful.