As E.P. Powell said, "Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day and leave out the gratitude."
If your family relationships are wonderful, expressing your gratitude is surely not a difficult thing. But if you have some stressful family relationships, the originally low-key, low-stress get-together with family festival may become a big pain in the wishbone.
So, how to manage anxiety and create positive family relationships?
Tips to celebrate a warm Thanksgiving Day
1. Plan ahead
If you have an uncle who enjoys bragging, or a little cousin who is always making ridiculous faces, pouting, or crying, they will very likely behave in that way at your Thanksgiving party.
You may as well prepare for the worst, thinking about the bad things that can happen and preparing for them. Be ready and you won’t be blindsided and overtaken.
2. Work as a team
You can discuss with your partner about the most stressful parts of your celebration. Will it be cooking or seeing certain family members? Then, think about ways to tackle these stressors.
For example, you can divide the work when you are cooking, or order a take-out as part of the meal. You can also set up a signal with your partner that you need to be rescued from a conversation. Trust me, this is very helpful.
3. Anticipate hot topics
Be careful with the debatable subjects, for example, politics. Are your family members on opposite sides? If one person suggests “Let’s talk about Trump,” and you don’t want to be baited into the conversation, you can prepare a response like “I’d rather not talk about that.”
4. To be grateful
Don’t forget that Thanksgiving is to express gratitude. Tell others what you appreciate about them and this will stimulate others to do the same. Grateful people are always happier than those who are ungrateful.
Try to follow these tips, say “thank you” and rekindle your family relationships. I’m sure you will get some warmth in this cold season. More importantly, Thanksgiving can bring you something even better — good health.
Gratitude can boost health and social bond
Many studies have shown that gratitude has various health benefits, including:
— Better sleeping quality
— Less depression
— Lower blood pressure
— Lower levels of inflammation
— Reduced symptoms of physical pain
In addition, researchers found that gratitude can lead to stronger social relationships. Specifically, being grateful is associated with oxytocin, a chemical that can promote social ties.
"People who are grateful get less triggered or angry, they have more positive feelings, and in some ways, that attracts other people," said psychologist Ilene Rosenstein. "When you feel these positive emotions and relish good experiences with others, there's a bonding in that, and it tends to build stronger relationships."
According to Glenn Fox, an expert in the science of gratitude, if you feel and practice gratitude more often, you will gain more health benefits.
Expressing gratitude once a year at Thanksgiving is not enough. Try to say thank you to others and write down things that make you grateful every day, the long-lasting health benefits will surprise you. May you have a positive and healthy Thanksgiving!