Thanksgiving and Thankfulness


Gratitude: the essence of psychology and psychiatry.




Thanksgiving Day has just passed, but that does not mean, of course, that we should stop being thankful. In fact, at its best, Thanksgiving reminds us to be more thankful in terms of gratitude.

Gratitude may be thought of as the essence of positive psychology and psychiatry. Why? Other than genetics, it seems to be the most important and powerful contributor to happiness and positive relationships.

Thankfully, gratitude is an attitude that can also be developed. So, even if your Thanksgiving was tarnished by family conflict, loneliness, or something else, you can still be grateful for what you had, have, and hopefully will have.

But how do you get to such ongoing gratitude if you do not have it already? Find some ritual gratitude practice. It also would not be out of the question to be grateful and compassionate to yourself for challenging achievements.

In fact, as the USA TODAY article “Giving thanks during a pandemic: ‘We learn to appreciate things when we lose them,’” conveyed, difficult times are one with Thanksgiving Day historically.1 It was first celebrated in our country after a harsh winter and death of many pilgrims. It became a national holiday during our Civil War. The current date of our Thanksgiving holiday came to be in the middle of the Depression.

We know that for our patients, grabbing gratitude may be an even greater challenge. Depression in particular increase negativity, which is where the positive reframing of cognitive behavioral therapy comes in.

In this spirit of gratitude, let me in the very least thank anybody who reads this and especially those who comment, the editors who helped post it, Psychiatric TimesTM for their appreciation of all that goes into psychiatry, and, as always—and most importantly—my family and friends.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.


1. della Cava M. Giving thanks during a pandemic: ‘We learn to appreciate things when we lose them.’ USA TODAY. November 22, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021. 

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