3 Reasons Why You Should Stop and Think About The Year That Passed: Thanksgiving Gratitude And Emotional And Mental Health


Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, atheist or Buddhist, introspection is a key to becoming a better person and to live your life fully and completely. We live rather fast and we combat stress every day, thus we tend to forget the importance of having “me-time”, and the reflection on the things we do and think.

The things we think and do influence on the way we live our life, we all know that. We tend to forget that our happiness does not necessarily include and depend on our professional satisfaction, the materialistic goods we have, or the success in private and social life.

When I put it this way, it seems that we need to strive to the truth about ourselves. We also tend to forget that we are not our job, we are not our career, we are not just parents and kids and friends and lovers, we are all that, hence we are also much more than that, we are all unique, yet we are all the same.

Reflection on even “the smallest” things we say, do, or achieve can make us better persons. Reflection can show us the way how to battle our problems, to test our strength, to shape our personalities, to achieve our dreams, to recognize our true purpose. Reflection can strengthen our tolerance, humanity, creativity. Being grateful for the things we have and showing appreciation to the people we love and cherish can make us better people, better friends, parents, lovers.

All above mentioned is one of the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. In case you have wondered how reflection and gratitude can make us better persons, I have decided to share my experience and to tell you my 3 reasons why I have devoted time to reflect on the year that passed.


Expressing gratitude promotes positive thoughts and feelings.

For some people, it is needless to repeat this sentence, however, it is sometimes very hard to stay positive, and to think positively. It is more likely that many of us solve our problems by avoiding them. There are two very simple rules everyone should practice when dealing with different problems and situations. 

If you can see the solution to the problem you have, solve the problem. If, however, you do not see the solution, stop thinking about it because it will only waste your time, energy and trigger negative thoughts and feelings. Expressing gratitude to the people we love or the things we have, helps us see the people and things for what they truly are, and helps us appreciate ourselves. The feeling of gratitude helps us think positively.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for my parents’ understanding, patience and love.

My parents and I had an argument related to my professional engagement. Since I am very ambitious, I have devoted a lot of time to my career that made my social life a bit lonely. My problem was that I did not see their concern, and I did not accept that they could have seen things more clearly.

The quarrel we had led to the problems in communication and relationship. I did not want to accept that I was substituting my social life for my professional life. I expressed and developed some negative thoughts and feelings, and due to that thoughts and feelings, my carrier started to suffer, so I started blaming them unconsciously. It took me a while to understand that they were right. It also took me a while to see that the reason I had become less efficient at work were because I have not solved my problem with them.

I realized that I was not concerned about my job, I was more concern about my relationship with my parents. This year I understood that they were my support and that they are the people who were helping me to become a better person.


Expressing gratitude alleviates the stress.

When we experience stress our emotions blur our mind, and we are not able to see things clearly. The problem with going through stressful situation is that we are experiencing extended stress as well. This year I went through several stressful situations with one of my best friends.

The conflict arose when I tried to explain why she need to change her eating habits and how those eating habits are influencing her life completely. She also went through some very unpleasant stressful situations that made her decide to lose some weight. The problem was that she decided to use some extreme measures that led to a diet that was basically a starvation. I have tried in several ways to explain that she saw things in the wrong way and that losing some extra ponds will not solve her problems.

The diet triggered both emotional and physical pain and suffering. She started having some serious health problems, and only then she realized that she should have listened to my advice.

On the other hand, she made me realize I needed to change the way I thought was the best way to help her. I needed to change the way I talk to her. She made me think about the importance of creating and developing a certain communicative skills. I realized that everyone needs to find the best approach when trying to help somebody.

This year I am thankful to my friend who taught me to be persistent, less stubborn, and more adaptive when communicating with different people.


Expressing gratitude will balance our emotional and mental life.

Many people have a problem with decision-making. Making the right decisions sometimes is the hardest thing to do. In order to make the decision in the proper way we need to balance our emotional and mental aspects of life. Dissatisfaction and lack of confidence influence on us to choose either our emotions or intellect to solve different problems and conflicts and make a decision.

Experiencing stress and anxiety can create, and in many situations do create, wrong decisions. This year I am thankful for knowing some wonderful people who helped me restore the emotional and mental balance in my life.


On this day we need to reflect on our lives, contemplate and show our gratitude. In order to become better and healthy persons we need to express gratitude every day, and Thanksgiving Day should be the first day to start with.

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USC’s Gratitude Campaign

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