Counselor's Corner: Thankful
In the fast-pass culture that we live in sometimes missing the small aspects of life that help make us healthier individuals fade to the backdrop. As I was driving home with my family on Thanksgiving evening we passed an outlet mall. The line of cars extended from the mall and continued down the highway for a couple of miles. As we continued home I realized that holiday lights were already up and turned on around stores and people’s houses. Suddenly Thanksgiving was over without the day being done.
Yes, every holiday is commercialized and that is an issue in and of itself that makes me cringe. This year it is bothering me even more. As Americans we are gifted a four-day break to be thankful. Instead of this being a rejuvenating time it has become a time of consumption for the next holiday. Mental issues are on the rise in America and I can’t help but think that part of it is due to the inability to slow down and be thankful.
Research is showing that being thankful helps our mental health. The difficult part is making space to think about what we are thankful for. If we keep moving and consuming it makes it difficult to realize these things. If our minds are always in the mode of what we need then our minds focus on how to get those things which in turn can produce anxiety and stress. We can tell our minds what to think and when the “food for thought” is always something we are lacking then the feeling that we get is one of absence. When we fill our mind with gratitude and thankfulness then the life we lead will be one of fulfillment.
It is important for everyone to take the time to be grateful and thankful for aspects of their life. Doing this can recalibrate how we navigate our lives. Being thankful can give us a new fresh perspective on life and increase our mental health. One way to check this is to write down a list of all the things that you are thankful for. Notice the themes that start happening. Who are you thankful for? What are you thankful for? The new perspective can be life giving and a positive look on life will soon follow.
Lastly, gratitude and thankfulness should not be left for one weekend out of the year. When people can daily find aspects of their life to be thankful for they are mentally and physically healthier then people that do not take the time to be thankful. At the end of everyday create quiet space to think of the things you are thankful for and see how that starts to change your perspective and life.