20 September 2023
When faced with such profound loss, the notion of giving thanks might seem ridiculous. How can you find a space for gratitude when you’ve lost so much? Yet, it's in these very moments, when sorrow feels all-consuming, that the transformative power of gratitude can provide an unexpected anchor. Turning your attention, even briefly, to the positives in your life can help you navigate your pain.
What is Gratitude?
In simple terms, gratitude is the act of recognising and appreciating the positives in life. It’s about focusing on what we have rather than what we lack. It's not about dismissing or invalidating our grief, but rather offering a gentle shift in perspective.
Why Can Gratitude Help with Grief?
- Counterbalances Negative Thoughts: When we grieve, it's natural to focus on what we've lost. By consciously practising gratitude, we can counterbalance some of those negative feelings.
- Boosts Mood: Several studies have shown that expressing gratitude can boost our mood and overall wellbeing, even in challenging times.
- Helps Acceptance: Recognising the good things that still exist in our lives can help us accept and process our grief more readily.
- Strengthens Resilience: Gratitude fosters resilience. It helps us navigate through the stormy seas of grief with a bit more hope.
- Connects us to the Present: Gratitude brings us back to the present moment, offering a break from the pain of past memories or anxieties about the future.
Gratitude Journaling: A 'How To' Guide
A gratitude journal is a fantastic tool to help you practise gratitude. Here’s a simple guide to get you started:
Choose Your Journal
Find a notebook that feels right to you. It can be simple, ornate, large, or small. Whatever speaks to you.
Set Aside Time
Dedicate a specific time each day to write. It can be in the morning to set the tone for the day or at night as a way to reflect.
Begin with just one thing you're grateful for. As time goes on, you might find yourself writing more.
It's easy to be thankful for broad things like health or family. But try to be specific. Did someone make you smile today? Did you enjoy a quiet moment with a cup of tea?
Read through your entries occasionally. Over time, you’ll see a pattern of positivity that can be uplifting.
Be Kind to Yourself
Some days, finding something to be grateful for can be tough. That's okay. The act of trying, of opening up to the possibility, is already a significant step.
And remember: While gratitude isn't a cure-all for grief, it can be a helpful companion on the journey. Through gratitude, we learn to find light in the darkest places and to hold onto hope even when it seems elusive.
Need a space to talk so you can start finding the positives again? I offer a safe and supportive space online or in Harrogate and am ready to help you navigate your grief. Get in touch via the form below, by email at email@example.com or by calling 07855 059 964.