We all have many memories of past Thanksgivings. If you are like me, some are fantastic and a few are not all that great. When I was a little girl and life seemed much simpler, I absolutely adored Thanksgiving. I loved playing with my cousins that I didn’t get to see that often. Sure, the food was good, but it was the company that made it the most fun.
As I got older, some Thanksgivings had pieces of the usual family dramas that make the holiday more difficult—misunderstandings between family members, alcoholism, split family rivalries, and guilt trips. Of course there were still many Thanksgivings filled with loving connections between friends and family and tables filled with amazingly delicious food. Sometimes both of these types of Thanksgivings occurred simultaneously!
My best advice for facing Thanksgiving is this—make it the Thanksgiving you want it to be. Even if you find yourself around some people that you find a little irritating, you can make the day a success. The key is attitude, focus, and gratitude. Let’s break those down.
- Attitude: You can choose the attitude you want to have every day. On Thanksgiving morning when you wake up, choose the attitude you want to have. You can be happy or you can be upset. It is totally up to you. Remember to keep choosing your attitude all day long. Even in the face of sometimes difficult circumstances and people, you can be the person you want to be.
- Focus: Are you focusing on the things that you like or the things that you don’t like? Our brains tend to focus on the negative and you have to rein it in to focus on the positive. It can take some mindfulness practice to remember to focus on what you like, not what you don’t like. Talk with your favorite Aunt Sally and don’t get into an argument about politics with your Uncle Harry. Be present for the wonderful smells and tastes of Thanksgiving. Don’t worry if everything isn’t perfect. It’s called “life” and there’s nothing perfect about it. That’s okay!
- Gratitude: Since Thanksgiving is the holiday to give thanks, this is probably the most important point to remember. Gratitude can help you have a better attitude and better focus. By enumerating the many blessings you have in your life, you feel better and, the better you feel, the more you are able to see the positive instead of the negative. When your mind shifts away from the problem and into what’s right, you can often find solutions to any problems that might arise during the day. When you express gratitude to others and speak about gratitude, you might rub off on everyone else around you. Positive energy is contagious and you might even get a grumpy relative to crack a smile.
For a little extra helping of gratefulness go to theses daily grateful living practice ideas. Make your life a feast on Thanksgiving. It can be a feast of right attitude, focus on the positive, and gratitude. Then there is a lot to be grateful for. The yummy food is just extra!