Thanksgiving is a time of year when we were often asked to think about what makes us thankful. For some people, that can be a hard process. Maybe it feels as though there is not much to be thankful about. Or maybe life is so overwhelming at times that there are few moments to notice the things that we know we are thankful for.
At the same time, in my clinical experience, being able to express thanks or - said another way - being able to notice appreciation can have a positive cumulative impact on overall happiness.
Does this feel challenging? My recommendation is start small. Very small.
If you do not feel as though you have anything in your life that brings you appreciation, maybe the bar is being set too high. Try noticing the tiniest things in your life that make you feel even one iota more pleased. Some examples that come to mind are: a pillow, a breakfast, a person who holds the door for you, a good tv show, a task that was easier than you expected.
Here is a really simple technique that many of my clients find pays off in a bigger way than they expect: try noticing one thing--even one very tiny thing--you appreciate every day. Consider writing these down, so that if you have a day when you have trouble coming up with something you appreciate, you can remind yourself what you appreciated in the past.
If one day the thing you find yourself appreciating is a person, see what it feels like to share that appreciation with them. In some cases, a simple "thank you" is adequate, but consider telling the individual what their actions mean to you.
This approach may sound trite, but I encourage you not to dismiss it until you've given it a try every day for at least a couple of weeks. There's no harm in trying, and my guess is that you might just find yourself looking at the world just a little bit differently in the process.