By Tara Kong, MS, NCC, LPC-A Supervised by Melissa Barton, LPC-S There is so much to like about Thanksgiving! Getting to enjoy delicious food, spending time with people you love, and sharing what you are feeling thankful for. But did you know there are also mental health benefits? Begin With Thankfulness There have been many […]
By Tara Kong, MS, NCC, LPC-A
Supervised by Melissa Barton, LPC-S
There is so much to like about Thanksgiving! Getting to enjoy delicious food, spending time with people you love, and sharing what you are feeling thankful for. But did you know there are also mental health benefits?
Begin With Thankfulness
There have been many studies done that show people who take time out of their day to think about what they are grateful for experience more optimism, more positivity, greater moods, and a sense of belonging compared to people who do not stop and consider what they are thankful for. Research also shows that gratitude has a positive effect on relationships. Couples who take time to express and show gratitude for one another feel more positive towards their partner and are more comfortable sharing concerns. Expressing gratitude also has a positive effect on other relationships, such as friendships, bosses, and family members. Those who express gratitude have been shown to have better relationships than those who do not.
Preparing the Thanksgiving Meal
There are many people who enjoy cooking and baking as a way to be creative and also as a way to relax. Cooking and baking classes are becoming more popular in mental health settings for helping to lower depression and anxiety. Some people find cooking to be a calming experience and a distraction from their life stressors. Others feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when they see their family or friends enjoying a meal they worked hard to prepare. One study found that baking classes increased confidence, boosted concentration, and provided people with feeling a sense of purpose. This Thanksgiving, when you see a loved one preparing a meal, offer to lend a hand and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and hard work.
Quality Time with Loved Ones During Thanksgiving
Being able to spend time with people you care about is another way Thanksgiving helps with your mental health. Social relationships are important to our well-being and mental health. People who report having satisfying relationships with family and friends are more likely to be happier, experience fewer health problems, and live a longer life. On the opposite side, a lack of social relationships is associated with depression, later-in-life cognitive decline, and increased mortality. Relationships need to provide emotional support and empathy to have a positive effect. Unhappy relationships can do damage to your mental health and are considered the same as having no relationships at all. Close relationships are helpful because they can reduce stress, provide purpose and meaning, and increase life satisfaction. Lab studies have shown that when participants are exposed to stress, emotional support helps lower blood pressure and increases the secretion of damaging stress-related hormones.
Although holidays can be stressful, having close and supportive friends can have a positive effect! Thanksgiving is a great time to share a meal and have quality time with friends and family! Having a delicious meal with friends and family is something that can be done throughout the year, not just at Thanksgiving. Planning to spend meals with people who support and encourage you will also add benefits to your mental health as well as feeling a sense of warmth and belonging.
Begin Therapy in Katy, TX!
If you are ready to begin counseling to improve your mental health, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide mental health counseling, as well as other mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more information
- Meet with one of our compassionate therapists
- Find ways to thrive through therapy today!
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!