Like all things since March of 2020, Thanksgiving this year is going to be different for many of us. For those of us who are used to the house bustling with the chatter and laughter (and maybe some drama too) of a plethora of family and friends, this year may be a bit quieter. With COVID-19 making its encore spike across the country, large gatherings are being discouraged; in some states feasting with others outside one’s household is even “prohibited”. In one state – I’ll be gracious and omit the name but inquiring minds will know who I’m talking about – the Governor was even said to have cancelled, in effect, “stolen” Thanksgiving. Well, I don’t care who he is, no one has the power to cancel Thanksgiving – that would mean he has the power to steal your practice of gratitude. Thanksgiving is exactly about what the name suggests – giving thanks. And that’s a choice you make; an attitude you own – no one can take that away. So take that Governor nameless!

The 2020 Holiday Season May Be Different But It Doesn’t Have to Be a Disaster

Gratitude is indeed timeless, but there is a new twist to it in 2020. It’s about embracing what’s different. There are loved ones I will be missing around our Thanksgiving table this year; one of whom resides in the state with the nameless Governor, and had planned to travel to our house. But, plans change. Every single one of us knows that all too well; a byproduct of 2020. This year has been different; is different right now; and will be different for the rest of the year, including the holiday season – maybe even for a portion of next year. But – this too, shall pass. It’s a storm we can ride out. I really don’t want some infirmity to steal my joy – or some guy in power either. Don’t let different equal disastrous or depressing for your holiday. Different isn’t always bad. Sometimes when we are pushed to try new things, we may discover new likes or dislikes along the way; including the way we celebrate holidays. The human spirit is more resilient than we know. The practice of gratitude can be a part of your holiday celebrations, even if they’re different. Gratitude can strengthen our spirits, along with our bodies and minds.

You may have read some of the studies on the science of gratitude; there are plenty of them out there, including many Harvard studies. The outcomes report good news for those who want to positively influence their physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health, since findings continue to point to all of these benefits. There are hundreds of studies, and many of the findings point to the physical benefits of practicing gratitude, such as optimum blood pressure and cardiac function, improved sleep quality, and even a strengthened immune system. And the list of mental and emotional health benefits for those who practice a regular habit of gratitude is lengthy, including disconnecting you from toxic, harmful emotions caused by ruminating on negative thoughts. One such Harvard study, published just last year announced, “giving thanks can make you happier”. I believe it. Think of someone you know who demonstrates a lifestyle of practicing gratitude, what their mood is generally like, even on days when things don’t go their way, and how their attitude of gratitude impacts you and your mood. I love being around grateful people; gratitude is contagious. Maybe more contagious than COVID-19. Now that’s something to be grateful for!

Hope whispers, gratitude is good for your health.

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