Rachael and her partner Ryan have lived in Fernie for a few years and have come to the conclusion that this was the worst year they’ve experienced in wild fire emergencies. Ryan works as a volunteer with the BC Fire Relief and Rachel has been through a rush of emotion this summer between her appreciation for his service and her own personal fear of his safe return. She is also feeling grateful the wildfire season is slowly coming to an end as she anxiously awaits the inevitable cool, rainy weather. As Thanksgiving approaches, she begins to reflect on the summer and the tireless hours the entire BC Fire Relief team has dedicated to the province in keeping her community safe. Despite the hardship, the province has endured this summer, Rachael makes note of how grateful she is to live in Canada. As she browses the supermarket, she stops for a moment to respect and appreciate all the flavours, colours and smells.
In Canada, most of us are lucky enough to have food to eat each day, a bed to sleep in and loved ones who bring us joy. Yet somehow, through cultural and societal conditioning, we’ve come to favour the negative aspects of our lives and what we feel we’re doing wrong. This leaves us feeling guilty and stressed – and the negative feedback cycle continues. This is why I often begin sessions with my clients with “what went well this week?” This gently refocuses the mind to focus on the positive aspects of our lives and enhances one’s self-worth. To clarify, this isn’t negating feelings of sadness, anger or grief; it is simply giving us an outlet to redirect our thoughts and feelings to help us feel more grateful in the moment. Recently, a study was done at the University of California that found studying and practicing gratitude is linked to many benefits including:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
However, I’ve always been a “practice what you preach” kind of lady, so here are my top three positive appreciation moments this month!
This Thanksgiving I’m grateful for…
- Canada’s abundance of fresh, healthy foods
At any given time of the year, we have access to supermarkets filled with colourful fruits and vegetables, freshly baked breads and aisles lined with non-perishables. When we look around the world, the means of obtaining food aren’t as easy. In many parts of the world, fresh fruits and vegetables simply aren’t accessible at all. The simple task of sitting down for a meal with your loved ones is a great opportunity to take a moment and reflect on how lucky we are as Canadians.
- Local farmers
If you haven’t checked out the Mountain Market yet, put this on your calendar for next year! It runs from July 1 to mid-September and features an array of local produce and artisan gifts. I could go on for hours about the benefits of farmer’s markets including a sense of community, contributing to our local economy and limiting your carbon footprint – but what really stands out to me is how good it feels at the Mountain Market. Local farmers truly are the cornerstones of our food supply and as such, I find it only appropriate to take a moment to appreciate their hard work.
- Charitable food donations
The Salvation Army in Fernie works tirelessly to provide food to those who are in need, and further efforts are increased during holiday times such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Check out Ann’s Independent for the food donation bin at the end of the check out. If you are fortunate enough to buy the food for your family gathering, consider donating to our local fund to keep everyone fed this thanksgiving – it feels good!
The Fernie food bank is located in the Salvation Army on 741 2nd Ave and is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30am to 12pm, and 1pm to 4pm. If you’re interested in accessing their services, they do require you bring ID and income and expense information – pop in and ask them for more information!
What are you thankful for this month?