Thanksgiving 2020: Giving Thanks When You’re Not Feeling It

Read the full article at PsychologyToday.

Toni Bernhard, J.D., a former law professor at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Bernhard discusses being aware on an intellectual level of the many blessings in her life, but just not “feeling it” as the expression goes. For example, you can remind oneself that they are fortunate despite all the Covid-19 restrictions, but still not being able to feel particularly grateful. Or, calling to mind all the people in the world who have it so much worse in an effort to make oneself feel grateful for what you have and having that not move you toward thankfulness. To that end, instead of trying to talk oneself into big gratitude—a lecture that is always packed with judgmental “shoulds” and “musts”—she recommends thinking small and offers these examples:

  • Thinking big: “I must be grateful every single day that, because my husband and I have been so strict about taking precautions against getting the virus, that I feel safe.”
  • Thinking small: “I’m grateful that, even though I’m stuck at home, the leaves on the tree outside my window have turned a pretty yellow color.”

  • Thinking big: “I should never forget to be grateful to my supportive family even though they can’t come here for Thanksgiving Dinner this year.”
  • Thinking small: “That was thoughtful of my daughter to text me today.”

  • Thinking big: “I should be appreciating all the things I can still do even though I’m sheltering-in-place.”
  • Thinking small: “I’m grateful I’ve discovered that doing jigsaw puzzles is fun and relaxing.”

  • Thinking big: “I need to feel blessed every day that my health problems are not life threatening.”
  • Thinking small: “I’m grateful that my pain levels aren’t very high today.”

  • Thinking big: “I should spend this Thanksgiving Day remembering everything I’m grateful for in this life.”
  • Thinking small: “I’m grateful that I have someone to eat with this Thanksgiving.”

Thinking small doesn’t mean trying to talk yourself out of my unappreciative mood by giving yourself a lecture about everything you have to be grateful for. Instead, it means, first, acknowledging that you feel pretty thankless sometimes, and then looking around for some little thing to be grateful for, but always acknowledging that feeling down, anxious, or angry sometimes that, too, is alright. These steps are just meant to help you get through these tougher moments.

Read the full article at PsychologyToday.