As October starts to wrap up, and the winter holiday season begins, many of us will have notions of gratitude or thankfulness on our mind.
Especially with Thanksgiving just a small ways away, it seems reflection on what we have in life is only natural this time of year.
Of course, this year, all of the holidays feel a bit different. While normally we would be planning trips to see family or parties with friends and other loved ones, this year COVID has made that either extremely difficult (quarantining for 2 weeks, getting COVID tests, making sure no one you’re seeing is immunocompromised or otherwise at risk, and that everyone who is getting together has been practicing social distancing and keeping themselves safe) or just altogether impossible.
It also feels like there is a lot less to be thankful for this year.
What with the past seven months being spent living this “new normal” where any kind of social outing or errand needs to be treated with extreme care and caution in order to keep ourselves and others safe; the widespread grief and anxiety that have come with living through a global pandemic; and all of the small things (parties, birthdays, concerts, vacations, weddings, etc) that we’ve missed along the way.
It can be easy to get lost in grieving all of those things. And taking time to grieve is definitely important! But it is also important to give ourselves space to focus on the good things too–even if they are just small things. Constant negativity can make us feel stuck, trapped, or like things will never get better. It can make us overlook things that actually enrich our lives and add happiness to our days.
On the opposite side, when we take time to notice and appreciate these things, we can feel even more strongly how they make us feel good. And we can find ways to incorporate them into even more areas of our lives.
Basically, when we know what makes us happy and what we are grateful for, we can be intentional about increasing the presence of those things in our lives!
This year, instead of waiting until Thanksgiving day to think about what you’re grateful for, we want to give you some journaling prompts to help you explore your gratitude right now.
Gratitude Journal Prompts:
- What’s one thing that makes you smile every day?
- What are you looking forward to in the next week? The next month?
- What is something you take for granted now, that wasn’t part of your life a year ago?
- Take a look around your home. Write about everything you’re grateful for.
- What would you from five years ago think if they saw you now? What would they be excited to see in their future?
- Who are you always glad to hear from?
- What traditions (amongst family or friends) are you grateful for?
- Write a letter to friends or loved ones letting them know you’re grateful for them and why
- Make a list of things that have brought you comfort during the last few months
- Write a letter to your past self, letting them know that you are grateful for the ways they took care of you
- Make a list of ways your community has made adjustments throughout this pandemic in order to offer a small amount of normalcy to you & your neighbors (outdoor markets, drive in movies, virtual alternatives, etc.)
- Write about something new you are happy to have learned recently
- What was the last small act of kindness directed towards you?
If you’re struggling with finding gratitude in your life, our Houston counselors can help.