It’s tough to maintain a truly thankful attitude when circumstances are difficult. Sometimes, this is challenging to do even during seasons of life that feel stable and optimistic! Gratitude just doesn’t seem to come naturally to very many of us, very much of the time. Perhaps your gratitude tank is running on empty this Thanksgiving season because you’re anxious and frustrated about an unexpected pregnancy. Perhaps the cultural message to, “give thanks” is ringing hollow this year, to the point that you’re feeling annoyed by reminders of the upcoming holiday. You’re in good company, if that’s where you find yourself today.
Avenue Women’s Center is here for you! We’ve been partnering with individuals facing circumstances similar to yours for over forty years, and we get it- you have a lot of your plate! Our goal is to provide the information and support you need to rise above your challenges and embrace your own best pregnancy outcome. Know that it’s possible to step into a positive future, beginning now. You’ve got this! And we’ve got your back.
Reach out to learn more about Avenue! We’re located in Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, and Wood Dale, Illinois!
Thankfulness Can Be Cultivated
Thankfulness is something that can be nurtured, which means we can choose to be thankful (or at least, take small steps toward thankfulness). The fall season is all about celebrating the harvest, so it’s fitting to think of cultivating gratitude as a bit like cultivating the land. This process requires care, attention, and a lot of patience. But the rewards can be both beautiful and nourishing. I think the fact that thankfulness doesn’t often come naturally, that it needs to be consciously pursued, makes it such a powerful coping tool.
What Are the Benefits of Thankfulness?
According to Psychology Today, numerous studies have been launched since the early 2000s to evaluate the effects of gratitude on mental health. The science confirms that practicing thankfulness has very positive impacts on a person’s overall well-being.
Gratitude benefits us in the following ways:
- It improves emotional wellness. Studies show that gratitude boosts positive emotions like happiness and overall satisfaction with life. It can also strengthen a person’s resiliency to stress, and act as a safeguard against depression and anxiety.
- It aids in the development of healthy relationships. According to Psychology Today, “Being grateful can foster social bonds, enhance empathy, and improve communication.” Thankfulness is also linked with trust and cooperation. Expressing gratitude openly inspires more supportive and helpful behavior in others too.
- It influences a more positive outlook. Cultivating gratitude changes the way a situation is processed in a person’s mind. If she practices thankfulness, she’ll be better equipped to maintain an optimistic point of view and reframe her circumstances so she’s able to cope more effectively when difficult times come.
How Can Thankfulness Be Cultivated?
It’s important to be intentional about developing gratitude because thankfulness is truly healthy for you. It’s not merely a feeling you’re “supposed to have” around the holidays, although Thanksgiving can be a good reminder of the value of gratitude. If you’re interested in cultivating more thankfulness in your life throughout the year, these tips from Psychology Today may help you take practical steps to begin that journey.
- Journal about the things you’re thankful for. By practicing this every day, you’ll be better equipped to concentrate on the positive more naturally.
- Meditate. Carve out specific times in your day (they can be brief) to focus on the things you’re grateful for.
- Write a letter. Let someone know the positive impact they’ve had on your life and how much you appreciate them. Thank them for the support they’ve shown you.
- Communicate gratitude in your normal, everyday interactions with people. Be intentional about saying “thank you” often as you go about your routine.
- Reflect. At the end of your day, take time to consider events, interactions, and other things (big and small) that you’re thankful for.
The feeling of thankfulness doesn’t always come quickly or naturally, even though every person has something to be thankful for. But following tips like these will increase your awareness of the good things in your own life. Hopefully, the feeling of gratitude will continue to blossom with time and focus.
If you need support navigating an unexpected pregnancy journey, Avenue Women’s Center can help. We’re a first-step pregnancy clinic that provides free services, such as lab-quality pregnancy tests, options consultations, and limited medical ultrasounds. Avenue is a judgment-free zone. Our expert staff members are available to listen, support, and equip, not tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel. You’re fully capable of taking the days ahead as they come, with courage and resiliency.
Call, text, chat, or email to schedule an appointment today!
Psychology Today. (2023, April). Cultivating a Gratitude Habit for Improved Well-Being. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-school-walls/202304/cultivating-a-gratitude-habit-for-improved-well-being
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.