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Surviving Thanksgiving When You Aren't Feeling Thankful

5 Ways to Feel More Grateful This Thanksgiving

Despite its name, Thanksgiving can actually make many people feel anything but thankful. If you're depressed or dreading a stressful family gathering, you may be having a hard time finding reasons to be grateful. Here are some ways you can increase your mental well-being and make the most of your holiday season.

Fake it. It's generally a bad idea to pretend everything is fine when you are suffering inside. If you are experiencing chronic depression, for instance, it's best to reach out for help, whether that means talking to a friend or seeking professional support from a therapist . During Thanksgiving, however, it may make sense to put up a brave front at least for a short while. If you wallow in your bad mood, you will be unable to enjoy any pleasurable moments that often occur unexpectedly when we keep a positive, open mind.

Lower your expectations. When they set the bar too high, people tend to be disappointed by their holiday festivities. If you approach Thanksgiving with unrealistic expectations, you are likely to feel even more disappointed when things don't go as planned. Try to enter the holiday season with an open mind. Don't expect to get along with every relative or enjoy every single conversation. Try to embrace simple pleasures however they come without ruminating about all the little things that aren't perfect.

Reassess your priorities. Thanksgiving can often shine a spotlight on all the things that aren't going right in our lives. Whether it's a failed relationship or a lack of career success, it's easy to get fixated on things that aren't going according to plan. By re-evaluating what truly matters, you can coax yourself away from despair. Whether it's your health, hobbies, children or friends, try to focus on the gifts in your life. You can also promote feelings of positivity by staying in the moment instead of focusing on the past or future.

Stay in the moment. Countless studies have shown that mindful meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression . Even if you aren't great at meditating, you can still enjoy the benefits of mindfulness by staying present in the moment. Instead of ruminating about the past or future, try to focus on what's happening right now. One effective way to do this is by focusing on your senses. This means smelling and tasting your food instead of wolfing it down. It also means listening intently during conversations instead of daydreaming or waiting for your turn to talk. Whether it's taste, touch, smell, sight or sound, your senses can help anchor you to the current moment, so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday as much as possible.

Don't go it alone. It's important to remember that you aren't weird or selfish for feeling ungrateful during the holiday season. In fact, research suggests that 60 percent of Americans say they'd rather do something else than reflect on what they're thankful for during the Thanksgiving holiday. If your depression or negative attitude has you dreading the holiday season, consider meeting with a qualified therapist. By talking about your feelings, you and the therapist will be able to look for effective strategies that can help you improve your mental outlook and embrace the holiday season.

Our caring therapists can help your overcome life's greatest challenges. Contact us today!