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THANKSGIVING: How Can I be Grateful When Feeling Sad?

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

CURIOUS ON LIFE: the Blog vol. 5

Rebecca Guevara Wingler

certified life coach/ artist/ grey area drinking


Having a grateful attitude can be challenging when we are experience difficult situations. Intellectually we know of course that there is much to be grateful for.

Most of us have a roof over our head, we have drinking water and know when and where our next meal will come from.

We probably also have a source of heat to keep us and our loved ones warm and safe from the cold.

But what about when something unexpected or horrible is happening in OUR family? We feel off balance, and unwell, I know I do. There can even be fear and a sense of hopelessness,...........sadness.

What is sadness and why is it an emotion we cannot escape? It is one the the seven universal emotions experienced by everyone around the world. It is an emotional pain that usually has a clear cause. Feeling sad is normal.

If you feel sad, you might also drink more alcohol than before, I know I did. You may have trouble sleeping. You might lose interest in activities that you used to enjoy.

Sometimes we go to great efforts to make life perfect and pain free, however sadness will inevitably come. Sometimes society sends messages that tell us we should always feel happy and be positive. This is unrealistic. We are human beings after all. We all feel sadness at some point in our lives.

As a life coach I have tools to help through these tough emotions, and I've learned the importance of centering myself. Life is fluid, nothing ever stays the same.

Even our darkest moments will see light of day. And when things are going smooth and everything seems aligned, we can take in a breath of satisfaction with a sigh of relief.

So, what can we do to help navigate in healthier ways through these times of distress? Especially when gathering for a Thanksgiving meal or the Holiday season?

  1. Acknowledge what's happening. It is okay to not feel okay. Denying such feelings may force them underground where they can do more damage. Cry, and notice if you feel relief after the tears stop.

  2. Prioritize taking care of yourself. Write in a journal, listen to music, or draw to express the emotion of sadness.

  3. Be mindful of how you are feeling. Think about the feelings in a non judgmental way and ride the wave of the experience.

  4. Maintain connections to others understanding what we can and cannot control.

  5. Know when sadness turns into depression. Seek help from a professional if your sadness becomes overwhelming or feel unmanageable. You are not alone.

What can the emotion of sadness teach us?

Sadness can increase motivation. Sadness can trigger effort and motivation to deal with a challenge in our environment.

It is also an active emotion. Like anger, it insists that we separate ourselves for a moment from the outside world and look inside ourselves to know what is happening.

When something is happening in your life that is causing this emotion, be patient with yourself and with whoever, and what ever is the source of your sadness.

Here are a few ways to start feeling more grateful even when we are experiencing sadness.

Notice good things - look for them, appreciate them. Express your gratitude to yourself, write them down, or simply thank someone.

"You cannot protect your self from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness. " Jonathan Safran Foer

Thank you for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!

With love, your coach




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