How to be thankful when it feels impossible: Thanksgiving 2020
This Thanksgiving is going to be far from normal. With everything going on in the world right now, many of us are struggling. Many of us may not be feeling that grateful, and that’s ok. It may seem really strange to think of Thanksgiving in a time where nothing is as it should be.
You may have faced hardships this year, not just related to your gut but also related to your general health, your family’s health or related to your job and lifestyle. When you are struggling, your mind is filled with many emotions and it’s not easy to feel thankful even if that is the meaning of Thanksgiving. So, how can you possibly face Thanksgiving in 2020?
Although it’s ok to acknowledge how we are feeling and not force positivity, it may be more important than ever to be thankful.
Why is it important to try and be thankful in 2020?
There is power in gratitude. Gratitude really means acknowledging the good in your life. It is a mindset which can help break vicious cycles. In fact, it can help us when we are at our lowest. That’s because when we are feeling low or stressed by life’s difficulties we can develop negative thinking patterns.
These patterns can include automatic thoughts which creep into our mind in response to having to deal with a stressful situation. Be that situation an IBS flare-up or watching the news during a pandemic. These thoughts can make us feel more down and breed a sense of worthlessness.
Having a thankful mindset has a lot of research behind it. Studies have shown that there is a link between being thankful and our overall wellbeing. And some studies have even shown that gratitude can help you deal with health-related stress.
We know that there is a link between the gut and our brains. By making our brains less stressed this can help us help our guts feel happier, too!
Anecdotally, you may have noticed yourself that being grateful for things has a positive effect on your mood and the way you approach the world. That’s why being thankful this Thanksgiving may be needed more than ever.
So, how can you incorporate gratitude when it seems so difficult?
Remember the small things
No matter how hard life gets, there is always something small to be grateful for.
It’s the small things like being safe, having an internet connection, having the ability to read and learn. It’s the things we take for granted but which we should all be grateful for.
Stop the comparison game
One of the biggest thieves of gratitude is comparing yourself to others, whether that is someone who can eat what they want with seemingly no consequences or someone on social media who seems to have a perfect life while you feel like life isn’t going your way. The truth is you can never know the trials and tribulations in someone else’s life and they may be craving something which you have. Social media is not realistic. Focusing on your own journey and path means you can be grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what it appears you don’t have. If this means taking a break from social media around Thanksgiving - we are here to support you through it!
Reflect on the history of Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving was a part of a celebration between the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Prior to this, a large number of the Native Americans had sadly died due to an epidemic and some of the Pilgrims also tragically perished during a tough Winter. Strange how 2020 is starting to sound like the first Thanksgiving! Despite the epidemic, hardships and difficulties both groups faced they came together after difficult times to enjoy the harvest. This truly gives a new meaning to Thanksgiving 2020! And reminds us that this tradition of being grateful is as applicable today as it was then.
Try some CBT techniques
CBT is a great way to tackle the thoughts and behaviours which can prevent gratitude. Though therapy cannot solve all your problems, it can help you deal with them. We have lots of techniques in the Zemedy app which can help you deal with your emotions and behaviours to provide space for thankfulness to enter.
It may be a tough Thanksgiving this year, not just because of IBS but because of 2020 in general. But that’s why more than ever, we need to share gratitude. We, at Zemedy, are grateful for all of you reading this article and everyone who is part of our community. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we will be thinking and thankful for all of you!