It may feel like a struggle to find gratitude when it feels like the world is in disarray. The pandemic, social and political unrest, financial stress, and social isolation are only some of the current challenges many of us are facing. As we approach Thanksgiving, the holiday season very likely feels uncertain and maybe even a little depressing. Some might not be able to visit family or friends over the holidays. For those who do, socially-distanced gatherings may feel stressful depending on safety precautions, election outcomes might be polarizing for family members with different beliefs, or financial constraints might force some to scale down usual plans or gift- giving. Sadly, some tables might have an empty seat where a departed loved one used to sit. How can we find gratitude in such a dark time?
Positive psychology research has found neurological reasons why people can benefit from expressing thanks for our lives, even in times of challenge and change. This year, the role of gratitude might need to be redefined or scaled down. If you are not feeling especially grateful, be kind to yourself. We are all navigating tremendous loss – be it of a person, a job, a social connection, or a general sense of freedom. This year, perhaps we can try to focus on small moments of gratitude in the midst of the chaos of the year. Ordinary things that we may have taken for granted in the past, we now may feel thankful for, such as enjoying the ability to go for a walk after being quarantined, savoring a delicious home cooked meal, having heat on a cold autumn day, or even getting a negative COVID test result. In the midst of unsettling times, gratitude has the power to support our healing and cultivate hope for a brighter future.
One final reminder that The Inner Stage is available for your individual and group therapy needs. Please contact Valerie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (917) 572-8114, Rebecca at email@example.com or (646) 470-0638, or Richard, our newest LMSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (505) 395-6362 to schedule a virtual session by Zoom or telephone.
© 2020 Valerie Simon, LCSW, TEP, CET III