Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!

Fixing Your Focus This Thanksgiving

November 21, 2023

Five percent of people experience seasonal depression every year.

Wait a minute.
Some of you read this blog for leadership insights.
Others of you are looking to improve your corporate culture and develop your team.
A few of you were just looking for a feel-good Thanksgiving story this week!

And now you’re sitting here wondering why I’ve opened this blog with a statistic about depression.

Here’s why: Thanksgiving—and the holiday season—is a time when many people have a heightened awareness of their deferred dreams and unmet desires. If you’re already clinically depressed, or even just discouraged, this time of year can make it worse. 

There is no quick or easy fix to depression or despair, and it doesn’t discriminate between people. Wildly successful actors and comedians like Dwayne Johnson and Jim Carrey have both opened up about personal struggles with depression. Even heroes from the Bible weren’t immune to it. There was even a time when Moses asked God to take his life, and David asked himself a question that many of us can relate to: “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” (Psalm 42).

Though Thanksgiving is a time we’re supposed to be grateful, it often reminds us of the things we’ve lost or the things we’ve always wanted.

The bad news is that I don’t have an easy solution to lifting this heaviness, but I do have three pieces of advice that I’ve found can offer both help and hope when things are heavy:

1. Turn down the noise. Spend less time with people who discourage you and less time consuming news and media that gives you anxiety. It’s good to be informed, but it’s important to be influenced by what is true, which brings me to my next point . . .

2. Replace the noise with truth. Spend more time with the right people, the kind of people who remind you what is true. And spend more time consuming books, articles, and media that help you think about good things and meditate on what is true.

3. Develop a rhythm of thanksgiving. Make gratitude a daily habit by cultivating it in your life. This could mean keeping a thankfulness journal, starting your day in prayer, or focusing on the bright spots of your day. Whatever practices you adopt, stick to them and make thanksgiving a part of the rhythm of your daily life.

While this season can bring sadness, it’s still true that gratitude is good for us when we are struggling or feeling down. When we focus on what we do have, instead of what we don’t have, we can experience genuine gratitude and contentment, even in the midst of longing and loss. 

I sincerely hope you experience this kind of gratitude this week as you celebrate with your family and friends. A simple shift in your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have can go a long way.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Insights on business,
life, and leadership —
right in your inbox!