Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving? Share your stories with cleveland.com

November 20, 2018

Feeling grateful this Thanksgiving? Share your stories with cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Feeling world weary this Thanksgiving?

We can’t blame you. Fall in Cleveland has been plain rain and cold since the heat evaporated in October. We’ve been battered by bad news -- California wildfires, mass shootings and gruesome deaths in our own community -- and divided by politics, from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to the midterm elections.

A September poll by Penn State University’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy found that “Americans are both polarized and intense in their feelings.”

The Mood of the Nation Poll has been tracking the overall mood of Americans since June 2016, poll director Eric Plutzer said in an email. “More than anything else, Americans are angry – at the political system, at specific politicians, and at each other.”

But Thanksgiving has a way of uniting Americans -- in gratitude and history.

We all know about the Pilgrims and Native Americans. But Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first national, annual Thanksgiving in 1863, in the midst of Civil War.

Take that, national bad mood.

So let’s embrace Thanksgiving. Being grateful makes you happier, according to studies.

Take it from the Harvard Business Review: “Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

You don’t have to go around the Thanksgiving table all naming your blessings, if that’s not your thing. You can replay past positive memories in your mind, recognize your present good fortune and take a positive outlook for the future.

A few ideas to increase gratitude this holiday season, especially in kids.

Thanksgiving offers relief from politics, and depressing news. “The Mood of the Nation Poll finds that many angry Americans simply want to take a break and be distracted by a hobby, a good book, or socializing,” Plutzer said. “And for that, nothing is better than a Thanksgiving escape with friends and loved ones!”

So what are you grateful for this holiday season? Share a story, a memory, an essay, or a thought with cleveland.com, through the form below, and we’ll publish the best on Thanksgiving Day.

Tell us a new business that makes you happy, or the neighbor who raked your leaves, or the incredible school performance you just saw, or the adorable thing your grandkid just did for you.

A few things I’m thankful for, to get you started:

The new “Hamilton” song drop today, with Lin Manuel singing about a new nation that sounds a lot like our own: “We fight like a marriage. Then share the same carriage.” As well as an assortment of Broadway hits I like to belt out in my car.My family. I know it’s trite. It’s a given. But we shouldn’t take for granted the people who created and molded us, and those who share our daily lives, from the morning bus stop struggle to bedtime snuggles. I mean, how can you get any better than a grinning 8-year-old boy building a Hot Wheel city in your living room? I asked him why not his own room. His response: “It’s too messy.”Friends. Again, duh. That’s why Americans (or at least American sitcoms) came up with “Friendsgiving.” But you can’t underestimate the richness they bring to our lives, from dramatic debriefings to let-it-loose laughs. I’m so grateful that on my 6 a.m. Monday morning runs, I get to talk to my best friend in Georgia, on her way to work. Books. They are my escape, my entertainment, my wind-down every night. Audiobooks are my new kick. Currently I’m reading “Secrets of Happy Families” by Bruce Feller and “Ohio” by Stephen Markley. I’m learning from both.

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