This message of #WeeklyWisdom is brought to you by Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County, a proud partner of the Community Coalition for Healthy Youth.

It is no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year. A global pandemic, on top of other difficulties, has resulted in many people feeling frustrated and emotionally exhausted as the year comes to a close. If you find yourself struggling to feel grateful as Thanksgiving approaches, you are not alone. However, it is important to practice gratitude during difficult times like these- perhaps even more so than it is when things are “normal.” Research has shown that people who regularly take time to notice and reflect on things they are thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and have stronger immune systems.

While many people associate gratitude with big events like receiving a promotion, it does not need to be reserved for momentous occasions. You can be thankful for something as simple as a tasty pie at Thanksgiving or a funny episode of your favorite show. In fact, finding reasons to be grateful for smaller or simpler things can increase your mood more than just appreciating the big things. According to UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons (, keeping a gratitude journal in which you write brief reflections on moments for which you’re thankful can significantly increase your well-being and life satisfaction. By writing down positive things that happen to you and actively acknowledging those who have helped you, you become better at recognizing the good in your life, helping you to feel grateful and thankful more often.

Don’t worry if you feel that these attitudes don’t come to you naturally. Paying attention to the positives in life can train you to see more and more of them, which will help you learn to be more grateful over time. Acknowledging these things, whether on paper, with words, or even in your thoughts, will help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude- and with it, a boost in happiness that will last year-round.

For more information on gratitude and how to incorporate it into your daily routine, visit:

CCHY wishes everyone a safe, happy, and grateful Thanksgiving!