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Being Thankful, Even When It’s Hard

After nearly two years of a global pandemic, just about everyone has faced more than their fair share of discouragements, challenges, and hardships. Whether it be COVID-specific obstacles or otherwise, many people have encountered difficulties at work, home, and school. Both stay-at-home orders and social distancing have tested relationships. Local and global news has also become extremely divisive and disheartening. Basically, things have gotten really hard for everyone.

It’s tough going into the holiday season and being asked to remember to be thankful. Many families have suffered losses and divisions and gathering around the dinner table may be particularly sorrowful or stressful for some. Yet, finding gratitude may be just what we need as we approach the end of an especially difficult year. Below are reasons why we should be thankful and tips on how to grasp a new mindset.

Developing Resilience

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Yes, you’ve faced (or are currently facing) some unique challenges and seemingly insurmountable odds but think back to moments in your life where you’ve felt defeated. How did you overcome those obstacles? Did you become stronger through your experiences? What did you learn about yourself then, and what can you learn now? Are you thankful for the person you’ve become through those trials and tribulations? Often, you’ll find that adversity is necessary for growth and development.

Growing Confidence and Happiness

Learning to be thankful can be paradigm-shifting. A cheerful mindset leads to confidence and happiness. It reduces stress and worry. Good vibes somehow attract more of the same. All of this can be achieved just from a change in perspective. Thus, developing the ability to be content or grateful has a compounding effect on benefits for your life. Use the holiday lull and the promise of a new season to motivate yourself to pursue thankfulness. Choose to embrace the good in your life.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Stop dwelling on anxieties and issues out of your control—it’s easier said than done! One way to counter negative thinking is to replace those thoughts with new, positive ones. Find uplifting mantras to focus on when the going gets tough. Take deep breaths and ground yourself in your surroundings when your thoughts spiral downwards. Remember that you have a limit and when you reach it, stop and be kind to yourself. 

Keep Track of What You Are Thankful For

Writing down the positive things you have and are thankful for is one easy way to count your blessings. Whether in a stack of scrap paper and napkins or a dedicated notebook, you’ll be able to see the good build up over time. It is easier to practice thankfulness when you establish an actual daily exercise as well. After a year, look back at what you’ve written and see the progress you’ve made. Mark down where you are in life now and get ready to see where you will be this time next year.

Rose Ho | Staff Writer

Spring 2024

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