Finding Gratitude at Thanksgiving When We’re Struggling

Finding Gratitude at Thanksgiving When We’re Struggling

This time of year of Thanksgiving celebration can be particularly difficult for those of us who are depressed or really struggling with our addictions. Thanksgiving is known as a time when we express and celebrate our gratitude, but this can feel impossible to do when we’re feeling low, hopeless and sad.

When we are in a particularly difficult place, we’ve gotten accustomed to thinking in certain ways, in thought patterns that are often negative, pessimistic and cynical. We see the worst in things. We expect the worst-case scenario to happen. We have a negative outlook on other people, on life, ourselves, on the world in general. We tend to focus on what we don’t like about any given situation. We complain and are filled with bitterness. To find gratitude, and therefore be happier and more at peace, we have to reach for thoughts of gratitude and find gratitude in anything we can, no matter how small.

Look around you. Think about your life and the people in it. Think about your daily routine. Your mind might jump to feeling worry and overwhelm about your many obligations. Maybe you’re quick to feel dread about your responsibilities, or frustration with a difficult situation you’re dealing with. Try to coax your thoughts to anything positive that you can find to be grateful for. Chances are you have clean drinking water, clothes to wear, and a place to sleep. You most likely have someone you could call for help if you needed to. There are probably people in this world who love and value you. Maybe the sun is shining, and when you take a moment to pause and observe it, it warms you and brings back happy memories.

Focus your energy on these things and allow them to fill you up with gratitude. Meditate on those feelings of gratitude and appreciation. Ground yourself in this new positive habit of being grateful, and allow it to inform your perspective as you move forward.

You may not feel like celebrating this Thanksgiving. Depression and addiction can rob us of our joy and hope. Try as much as you can, little by little, to find gratitude in the small, everyday things. Try to find the beauty around you. The more you practice, the more you train your mind to find more things to be grateful for, thereby attracting even more into your life. You might find that the holiday becomes a special time to help you instill this gratitude practice.

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