Expressing gratitude even during challenging times is healthy and beneficial, says Dr. Elizabeth Duval, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.
“During difficult times, we tend to focus on the challenges, think more negatively, and ignore the positive, so recognizing what we are grateful for can help us create a more positive perspective and offset negative thinking,” she says.
Maintaining some sort of traditions, even scaled back, during a holiday is important, UM’s Duval says.
“Having structure and routine have been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety and sadness,” says Duval, who is also an adjunct assistant professor of psychology. “So, things that are routine can be comforting and can help us cope with challenges. For many people, finding ways to maintain routines and traditions, even if they look a little different this year, may help us to feel better and stay connected to the things we value.”