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How to be Thankful When You Don’t Feel like it – A Thanksgiving Reflection

As Thanksgiving has come and gone I spent some time reflecting. Reflections about my family, friendships, health, job, and in many ways, it is making me think ahead to those New Year’s resolution goals. Now I am somewhat deflated. It is hard to be grateful and thankful about everything in life. Life sometimes just “gets in the way” and feeling a sense of gratitude takes work. I should probably work on this as we are now in the holiday season!

What are you thankful for? This can be a hard question to answer at times. You may not be in the job you want, you may not like your boss or the work you do, you may feel stuck and frustrated. Here are a few things that I have found to help me take inventory to realize I have much to be thankful for.

1. It’s okay to not always feel grateful. Feelings fluctuate and there are many factors you need to remember that can be a big influencer. Lack of sleep or exercise can make it very hard to be thankful and positive. Don’t beat yourself up if you need a good night’s sleep to see things with new perspective.

2. Just because you feel it doesn’t make it real. While it is true that no one can argue with your feelings, your feelings may be covering up the real issue. Feelings can make you more sensitive and you could react more quickly or harshly than usual. If you are in a gloomy mood, you may need to ask friends or family what they think you do well. They will help you take one step to celebrate that list. Then, do one thing, take one step to making things better.

3. You don’t have to be grateful to express gratitude. Practice being grateful even if resentment or sadness starts to swell up inside. Call someone who has made a difference in your life and thank them for how they helped you. Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for, even if they seem silly. For example, I am grateful I have my legs. I enjoy exercise and without them my life would change dramatically. You might feel like you are going through the motions in the beginning, but with practice, you may find your attitude changes.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be the best YOU that no one else can be. What is the one thing you enjoy and are good at? It might be worth spending more time doing what brings you joy. Make sure your expectations aren’t so high that you set yourself up for failure.

5. Limit social media. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, however, seeing posts about how bad someone else’s life is can make it hard to be positive and grateful for your life. Remember that misery loves company. On the other hand, always seeing the friend who seems to have everything in life and looks perfect in every way can make it easy to lose sight of what you have to be grateful for.

Ask yourself, what is ONE THING you are grateful for. I am grateful for my parents. Looking back when I was young, I wasn’t grateful for them! I had a curfew, rules, expectations (all of which I hated), but those things made me who I am today. Thank you mom and dad for always being there, for holding me accountable, for teaching me, and for believing in me. I have all kinds of memories going through my head right now and it makes me smile!

You too can be grateful and thankful.

Patty North Headshot_CelebrityStaffPatty North, CPC, SPHR, Celebrity Staff General Manager
As the general manager of Celebrity Staff, a leading staffing and recruitment firm, Patty North has assisted organizations across a four-state region with the development and implementation of best practice strategies in the areas of talent acquisition and talent management. Her collective insight and expertise on workforce planning, garnered from her 19 years in the staffing industry, has enabled clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations to improve performance and gain a competitive advantage in their respective markets. Patty has served as an Advisory Board member of ICAN (Institute for Career Advancement Needs), is a past-president of the NE Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NAFCS), and has been a guest speaker at the University of Nebraska – Omaha on topics ranging from resume writing to interviewing. Patty has also been a guest presenter at Women’s Leadership Conference and break-out session presenter at the Nebraska State Human Resources Association annual conference.

In addition, Patty is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) and has her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification (SPHR). She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources and Family Sciences.

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