Healthy Black Friday: Gratitude


Black Friday is often a family tradition involving spending part of you Thanksgiving or the next day camping out at stores, waiting in lines, and snagging deals from your favorite stores. This year, we challenge you to focus on having a Healthy Black Friday by focusing on gratitude.

According to an article in Psychology Today, the body cannot feel two contradicting feelings at one time. So, if you focus on gratitude you can’t focus on a contradicting feeling, like stress. This phenomenon is called “Reciprocal Inhibition” and can help you shift your mindset, reduce your stress, and focus on the positives.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, instead of reaching for your phone for pictures and videos to post on social media, put the phone down and focus on living in the moment. Savor the right now. That is not to say that pictures aren’t an important way to memorialize events, but allow yourself to be in the moment with your family or your friends or your pets, whoever you are spending the holiday with. Take time to consider what your life would look like if you lost it all… relationships, possessions, your job, your education… think about how that would feel, what you would do… now, think all you have, especially if you regained it after losing it… how would that change your mindset of your current situation? What do you appreciate most? What could you do to really savor these moments?

Now, here is an exercise from the Psychology Today article:

To immediately access a sense of gratitude: Gently close your eyes, or keep your gaze on the ground. Then, gradually bring to mind someone you love, your partner, child, good friend, at their absolute happiest, smiling, laughing. Imagine them getting exactly what they want. How does this affect your mind and body? Let it color your mind and body. Can you see your smile? Find yourself bursting with joy. Notice it. Stay with it for a few moments.”

What does this exercise have to do with Black Friday? Well, imagine if you stayed home or wherever you’re celebrating Thanksgiving all night instead of trying to get to the stores that open early. Imagine if you got a good night’s rest instead of camping out at a store. Imagine if you planned fun activities for that rare day off work, that isn’t technically a holiday, on Black Friday instead of focusing on buying things. How would that make you feel?

If you’re saying “but, think of all the money I can save on gifts and things we want or need!” Trust me, I hear you. So, how could you combine these two ideas into one? A compromise of your mindset, essentially.

Here are some alternative Black Friday ideas if the goal is to save money:

  • Shop local! Instead of trying to get the latest toy or gadget at a discount from Walmart or Best Buy, why not explore the small shops in your town on Black Friday or another day. See if you can find truly meaningful items for loved ones rather than what’s trendy
  • Plan for Cyber-Monday on Black Friday! Stay home, peruse the ads, check out the websites, make a plan for how you can still get great deals on the most coveted items. Perhaps you could even make a game of it with your family! “Grandma really wants that new kitchen gadget. Who can find the best deal first?!”
  • Pick one store instead of making a day of it! Get in, get a few things, get out and spend the rest of the day with family or friends or take the family (if you can, safely, while social distancing) and stop for family meal out on the way home! Or do another activity like an Escape Room or the ever popular Axe throwing!

No matter what you do on Black Friday, take a moment to do the exercise above at some point throughout the day. Focus on the laughter, focus on that joy, keep the image of that smile in the back of your head and let it shine through in your own smile throughout the day. Take a moment to be grateful for all you have and, if you get some good Black Friday deals, take a moment to be truly grateful for those too! 🙂

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