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  • Writer's pictureMindy McCarthy

A Grateful Perspective

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I know this year may have looked a little different than years in the past. You may have not traveled to see certain family members, or your loved ones may have not been able to travel to see you. Hosting a “Friendsgiving” may have taken a backseat as well in order to keep the amount of people involved at a low number. Many of us may have had a virtual Thanksgiving where we set up various phones, tablets, etc. in a way where we can “eat together” through the use of technology.

Many people that I spoke with explained how they were feeling somewhat sad about these changes in plans which I can certainly understand. This is when the practice of gratitude can come into play even beyond a holiday all about being thankful for what you have.

The truth is that it is all about your perspective. While you may not have been able to see some of your family members or you may not have felt comfortable getting that close human contact with a loved one like receiving a hug, you can be thankful that each of you are healthy and still able to enjoy Thanksgiving meals in some way, shape, or form even if it is miles apart.

While you may still host some loved ones in your home for a meal, it can be easy to dread doing the dishes afterwards. However, feeling thankful that you had the time to share and fellowship together is more important than thinking about the chores that need to be finished later. If you feel that you have a messy home, be thankful that you have loved ones living there with you that you can endure life’s ups and downs with.

Because we are human, our brains lean more towards negative thoughts. I wish I could say as a mental skills trainer that I can help you stop these negative thoughts from entering your brain. However, that would set some unrealistic expectations for yourself. What we can control, though, is how you react to these thoughts.

If you find yourself thinking negatively, whether it is about the state of our society or political atmosphere, your performance in a recent competition, a fight with a loved one, or anything at all that is important to you, remember to practice some gratitude. There is always something that you can be grateful for.

Starting a gratitude practice is helpful for training your mind to always see something positive. You can do this by practicing affirmations or even writing in a gratitude journal. Making this part of your routine and being consistent with your practice even during the “good times” help you remember to do so in the “bad times.”

Use various techniques to remind yourself to stay in this habit whether this is a scheduled time on your calendar or a reminder that goes off on your phone. Find a time in your day where you can practice this consistently, and soon enough this will become a habit. The more you practice it, the more you are able to use it even in specific moments like in the middle of a competition, for example.

While reading through this, what are some things you are grateful for? Start practicing gratitude right now, and remember to continue to prioritize it each day.

For me, I am thankful for many things. I have an amazing family support system, and I also married into a second one. I have a job that allows me to do things that I love as well as work with many incredible people in addition to paying my bills. I have the best dog in the world who truly shows me what unconditional love means. Even in a year like 2020 that seems to be filled with more and more negative news, find the things that you can feel grateful for to help train your mind and talk back to those negative thoughts.

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