As Thanksgiving comes and goes in the US, I imagine many MMHM readers are reflecting on the ups and downs of family and what gratitude/thankfulness means to you. Another reality is that some of the readers here don’t have a biological family, but instead have a chosen-family to connect with or actually no immediate connections at all.
Regardless of your situation, let me invite you to think about ways to be grateful this season - not as a way to foster toxic positivity, but rather to foster “radical softness as a boundless form of resistance” (quoting from Gender Fail) to help us cope with difficulties felt currently or anticipated:
Use your experienced senses to recognize what you have - Regardless of what senses you have, consider using an activity like the one here to slow down, experience the world through your body, and consider being thankful for the faculties held within yourself.
Write down or draw the people/things in your life that bring you joy/meaning - Taking stock of what is valuable to you and is a part of your life is a great way to foster gratitude and appreciation. After acknowledging these people/things in your life, consider reaching out to some of them and letting them know how grateful you are for them.
Reconnect with or create a place that feels positive and fosters gratitude - Sometimes we can benefit from surrounding ourselves with cues and experiences that remind us to be grateful. That can be affirmations in your room, being near nature (be it your favorite plant, your backyard or on an outdoor hike) or in places you have control of how they look/appear.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.