Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating the holiday today. I know that many of you are missing family and traditional celebrations as we all work to navigate this unprecedented time in life.
My family made the difficult decision to not see each other for Thanksgiving this year. While I know it was the right call, it doesn’t make me miss them any less or not wish that I was I was in the kitchen with my dad whipping up our turkey dinner.
I am also missing my little turkey today as I swapped holidays with his dad so that he could spend time with his dad’s family in Charlotte on Thanksgiving.
Despite the roller coaster ride that 2020 has been, I still have a tremendous amount to be grateful for every single day on both large and small scales. Choosing to see all of these blessings has been a grounding force for my heart throughout a challenging year.
I appreciate y’all for reading and being here. Thank you for sticking with me through the good times, the hard stuff and all the regular/mundane in-between. I am grateful for the connection and community that my blog has provided me with and I never take it for granted…even when it’s hard to show up with the same enthusiasm and frequency that I had pre-pandemic.
To close this post, I want to share two things. The first is about a different way to do a gratitude practice as taught by Rachel Hollis.
I was listening to Rachel’s podcast last week and she was talking about gratitude journaling. Her recommendation was instead of writing broad, general gratitude statements like “my health, my family, my job,” to get really specific to things that are relevant to the last 24 hours like “the cup of coffee I had with a friend, snuggling on the couch with my child, the beautiful sunset.” Rachel said that this will ultimately train our brains to look for all the blessings in our lives on a daily basis. I really love this approach.
The second thing that I want to share is for anyone who might really be struggling where even thinking of these micro gratitude moments might be a stretch. A couple of years ago I listened to Sheryl Sandberg’s book Option B where she shares her journey through grief after suddenly and unexpectedly losing her husband and being left a widow with two children. I’ll never forget how she said that when she couldn’t make a gratitude list, she would journal things that went well instead. Here’s an excerpt from the book.
“Then Adam suggested that I should also write down three things that I’d done well each day. At first I was skeptical. I was barely functioning; what moments of success could I find? Got dressed today. Trophy please! But there is evidence that these lists help by focusing us on what psychologists call “small wins.” In one experiment, people wrote down three things that went well and why every day for a week. Over the next six months, they became happier than a group writing about early memories. In a more recent study, people spent five to ten minutes a day writing about things that went “really well” and why; within three weeks, their stress levels dropped, as did their mental and physical health complaints.
For six months, almost every night before I went to bed, I made my list. Since even the most basic tasks were hard, I started with those. Made tea. Got through all of my emails. Went to work and focused for most of one meeting. None of these were heroic accomplishments, but that little notebook by my bed served an important purpose. It made me realize that for my entire life I’d gone to bed thinking about what I’d done wrong that day, how I’d messed up, what wasn’t working. Just the act of reminding myself of anything that had gone well was a welcome shift.”
It was on my heart to share these two things today. I hope that they are helpful to someone out there.
Again, thank you for being here and I am sending love and blessings out to all of you.
Photos Deanna Kourtney Photography.