An Invitation for Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 17, 2022
As we move into this Thanksgiving season, take time to pause for gratitude. Relationships serve as meaningful opportunities to share hearty conversations, savor sweet memories and be generous with acts of kindness. Be kind to everyone and be intentional about the connections you are nurturing.
Here’s an invitation for you to try activities that will inspire an “attitude of gratitude” and treat Thanksgiving as a holiday to boost resilience. Giving thanks can include a range of actions including reflection on what you are grateful for, extending appreciation to others, and being intentionally generous and kind. By giving thanks we are connecting and through this effort we are boosting resilience and experiencing benefits to our mental health and happiness.
The benefits of gratitude include:
- For Body: stronger immune systems, improved sleep, increased amount of exercise
- For Mind: more joy, less loneliness, more progress toward important personal goals
- For Community: strengthens and deepens relationships, builds participation in community efforts, supports optimism by knowing that others are there for us.
- For more information, see the Mental Health and Happiness Series Gratitude Summary and Resources.
When we feel our resilience level is lower, we can do activities that provide a resilience boost. By being resourceful, we build new skills and commitments that can support our mental well-being. By trying a variety of practices you’ll discover the techniques that work best for you based on your own values and goals.
Gratitude activities to try:
- Spread kindness: Whether as formal volunteering or a casual interaction, seek out an opportunity to share kindness and appreciation with others. By caring for others, we in turn see these benefits for ourselves, as part of the whole. Set a goal for your act of kindness.
- Take a broader view: Seek out reports of generous, kind and compassionate actions that people are doing locally and globally. Write about what you are grateful for with our common humanity.
- Explore your surroundings: Notice what you are grateful for in your environment, inside and outside. Give prominent placement to items that spark positive emotions and gratitude.
- Personalize your gratitude expression: Bring to mind someone dear to you and reflect on what you appreciate about them. This mindful reflection sparks warm feelings of connection, even when we are not together. Next, express your reflection in writing or through conversation.
- For more activities, use BCHD’s Mental Health and Happiness Gratitude Activity Worksheet.
Gratitude is included in the Mental Health and Happiness Series workshop experience. You can get started at bchd.org/series and are welcome to do this at your own pace. Join us in-person for the Maximize Gratitude Workshop on Wednesday, November 30 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Beach Cities Health District. Participants will learn about the key benefits of gratitude, experience accessible tools to foster more positive social connections, and build a personal practice to express appreciation and savor kindness. Facilitated by Tiana Rideout-Rosales, BCHD Well-Being Programs Supervisor. To pre-register for this free workshop, please complete the Maximize Gratitude Workshop Registration form here. We hope you will extend this Thanksgiving invitation.
References research by:
Robert A. Emmons, PhD
Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD