THANKSGIVING REFOCUSED AROUND GRATITUDE

Willa Haeseler, Staff Writer

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What is the first thing you think of when you hear “Thanksgiving?”
Maybe it is the sweet, sizzling turkey on the table each year, or that full feeling in your stomach at the end of the night after appreciating the day with loved ones. Or maybe instead of those warm memories, you think of all of the terrible things that happened years before that food was brought to your table, and you wonder whether the holiday even deserves to be celebrated after all of its disgusting history.
Some people believe that we should not celebrate Thanksgiving because it glorifies the historical abuse and muder of Native Americans, and that it encourages racism to climb through the years and darken our world today.
Other people, however, say times have changed, and that Thanksgiving encourages people all across the country to turn their focus from daily stress and unhappiness to gratefulness for all the things they have, and all the people they love.
According to Harvard Medical School, daily gratefulness has physical as well as mental
and emotional benefits. A study conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons from the
University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami, proved that people who wrote down their daily gratitudes were far more optimistic than others, and took fewer trips to physicians than people who focused on neutral or negative statements.
The entire point of Thanksgiving is to increase our gratitude, therefore increasing our mental, physical, and emotional health. We cannot simply sweep all the horrors of its past under the rug; we must acknowledge them. This does not mean, though, that we cannot have a special day to improve our health by appreciating our homes, family, friends, pets, and anything else that makes us happy. Health is a priority, we must treat it as such.