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Don’t be grateful on Thanksgiving

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Despite everything you’ve ever learned in school or practiced at the dinner table during the holidays, we actually shouldn’t be grateful on Thanksgiving, according to the professionals at Central Wyoming Counseling Center (CWCC).

Psychologically, if we expect to pack a year’s worth of gratitude into a single day, we’re not able to experience this complex emotion thoroughly. Thanksgiving is a day associated with stress, overeating and family drama, so we can’t think of it as a catalyst to a whole new outlook on thankfulness.

To practice gratitude 365 days per year rather than just on a single Thursday in November, CWCC Licensed Counseling Professional Lillian Witte encourages us to reflect on all of the good in our lives on a daily basis. Keep a gratitude journal that you write in every night, and before bed, record one to three things you’re grateful for. This makes gratitude feel routine rather than something that’s reserved for holidays, and this practice will make you happier and healthier all year long.

And this Thursday, don’t try to get through the holidays because your to-do list is long, or because you don’t want to deal with Aunt Susan. Focusing on the stress or what you don’t like will block you from engaging in this important and meaningful experience. And it makes your time with Aunt Susan feel that much longer. So dive in. Be present. Be engaged. And be grateful for it all.