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Calling It: Thanksgiving 2020 Is The Holiday Of The Gratitude Voice Memo

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Mother and daughter smiling together holding a cup of tea

Thanksgiving looks different in 2020. This doozy of a year may have affected the food on your counter, the people gathered around your table, your thoughts about the holiday's history, or some mix of all three. But if there were one Thanksgiving tradition to hold tight to right now, it's the expression of gratitude.

Remembering what you're grateful for can reduce stress, bring on the happy feels, and strengthen social ties, always. Especially during a period of collective loss, the simple pause to think about what you do have as opposed to what you don't is all the more powerful.

There are plenty of ways to think about and share your gratitude: Writing it down, speaking it aloud, channeling it into a gift, etc. When mbg caught up with intuitive counselor and sacred space designer Elana Kilkenny, she shared another tool that doesn't get talked about as much but is just as meaningful, especially this year: the almighty voice memo.

The virtue of voice memos.

This Thanksgiving, Kilkenny proposes sending a voice note of gratitude to some of the favorite people in your life to tell them what you appreciate about them. Longer and more personal than a text while safer than an in-person exchange, easier to coordinate than a phone call and less fatiguing than a Zoom meeting, voice memos are basically the feel-good communication mode of pandemic times.

They can be especially helpful for those who are spending the day with fewer family members or friends than usual: Between prepping your downsized turkey and crimping the crust for your personal pies, whip out your phone and expand the Thanksgiving crew virtually.

"Meditate a little bit and tune into who you want to send them to—it's not always the people who first come to your mind," Kilkenny says. Let your intuition tell you who needs to hear your gratitude the most, speak from the heart, and send without second-guessing. "Don't make this another thing to be a perfectionist about," she adds.

Sending a voice memo is a quick, effective way to exercise vulnerability, share love, and brighten someone's day who might need it. iPhone users looking to hop aboard the positivity train can open their message thread, hold down the voice memo icon to the right of the text box, and press send. Android-touting folks can download a voice memo app and share in a text message from there.

And the gratitude voice memo (GraVoMo?) revolution doesn't need to stop there. Continue sharing words of kindness during future holidays, birthdays, or any ol' time you think of something awesome about the people in your life. Keep them for yourself to document happy moments or remind future you of your present perspective. Record them during moments of frustration for quick release and then delete them. While there are certainly virtues of a low-tech life, this is one digital tool that can be overwhelmingly positive for mental well-being.

So, sure, this year feel free to cook pizza instead of pie or do an indoor Tabata instead of a turkey trot. But whatever unique way you're celebrating, remember to find something about it to be grateful for—and then pass that fuzzy feeling on forward.

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