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Thanksgiving at S/HE

November is a time to be thankful, and one great thing about thankfulness is that it makes us happy, according to sociological research.  “People who are regularly grateful – who acknowledge the goodness in life and the sources of it – are generally healthier and happier,” according to a Time magazine special on happiness research. 


Some people are good at finding reasons to be thankful and expressing it – others, well, not so much.  Irrespective of your current outlook, if you’d like to increase your feelings of gratitude, try these tips:


  • Pay attention to things you can be grateful for throughout the day: a good friend, a nice conversation, an interesting class, a fun activity, a winning smile, a favor someone does you, or a delicious meal are all cause for gratitude.


  • If you have purchased something, think about why you bought it – this will not only increase your gratitude but also make you more mindful about what you purchase and reduce impulse spending.


  • Write down what you are grateful for, either in a journal, a paper or e-note to someone, or for deposit in an “I appreciate you” box you keep at home.


  • Imagine the alternative: if you are stuck in traffic, think how life would be without a car.


  • Say “Please” and “Thank you”: If you’ve ever worked at a store or restaurant, you noticed pretty quickly how few people say these things, and when you serve someone who does, it can make your day.

  • Share details with people about why you are grateful for them, such as “I appreciate how you always make time for me”, which can lead to a deeper conversation and relationship.


Time lists the health benefits of increased gratitude as “lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, better sleep and fewer bouts of depression.” 


That said, gratitude can help, but it is not a cure-all for mental health problems.  If you are going through a difficult time and it is hard for you to feel grateful for anything, there is no shame in talking to a professional or a spiritual advisor about strategies to help you cope. 


And if you are experiencing prolonged sadness, suicidal thoughts, severe anxiety, radical and uncontrolled mood swings, or hearing voices that encourage you to engage in destructive behavior, it is imperative that you immediately seek the help of a mental health professional.  Remember, most people experience a diagnosed mental illness at some point in their lives – seeking treatment quickly can greatly improve your health and happiness. 


One other thing many parents are grateful for is the return of their college students for the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is a much-anticipated event by parents, but sometimes their children seem depressed upon their return. 


If your child had a traumatic experience in college, you must restrain yourself against telling the child what s/he should have done differently or expressing any doubts you have of the child’s version of events.  If your child tells you s/he was sexually assaulted, simply say: “I love you.  I believe you.  What can I do to help you?” and then listen. For more information CLICK HERE TO WATCH THIS VIDEO and READ MORE HERE.

Unfortunately, suicide is the leading cause of death among college students, so take any depression seriously.  If you’d like to learn more about maintaining good mental health and preventing suicide, use the following link: VIEW MORE


Please have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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