How to be thankful during a pandemic

As this pandemic stretches on, and on, and on, it’s easy to lose hope. However, being thankful can transform our lives, shifting our focus from loss to hope. 

My family has a Thanksgiving dinner tradition of going around the table and saying one thing for which we are thankful. Usually, “family” is at the top of the list of our thankfulness. With the forced separations created by the pandemic and, in my case, two recent deaths, there are fewer opportunities to share our thankfulness. 

We don’t have to wait for a Thanksgiving Day to be thankful. Just listing the things for which we are thankful can help push back the darkness to reveal the light of hope.

Perhaps you will add to this list of things for which I am thankful this year:

1. Family provides a feeling of connectedness that is comforting and centering. Intergenerational family gatherings position us in the flow of humanity throughout history.

2. Friendships are one of the greatest gifts of life. Friends fill a part of your heart that no one else can. 

3. My mind is a big part of my happiness and my life. It holds my thoughts, opinions, memories and emotions. To exercise my mind I will fill it with nourishing thoughts. As Abraham Lincoln said:  “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” 

4. My body moves me, helps me, heals me and takes me places I want to go. After a recent hospitalization I am reminded to be grateful for my body and treat it with the respect it deserves. I pledge to fuel it with proper nutrition and care for it accordingly. I will be gentle with it because it is getting older. I will challenge it so that I will retain my strength. I can enjoy living in my body no matter its shape or size. 

5. Health is a profound gift, and not something to be taken for granted. Often I don’t appreciate my usually good health until I become sick.

6. Children live in the moment, without much regard for what has happened in the past. They love openly, without restriction, and they take pleasure in everything they do. I can learn much from a small child.

This Thanksgiving, challenge yourself and others to add to this list. Count your blessings.