How Gratitude Can Heal Along the Journey Through Grief
When we are grieving the loss of someone we loved, often we find little to nothing to be grateful for. In fact, we often have feelings of anger or despair and we focus on what we no longer have versus what we do still have.
So how can gratitude help in the journey through grief?
Gratitude is the emotional state of receiving, it is a feeling you tune into and receive.
Think back to times in your life when you felt most grateful? If you can conjure up those pictures you can bring yourself back to those feelings as often as you want.
We can grieve loss while still feeling gratitude for the goodness in our lives and being grateful for what remains after you have experienced a loss can be a powerful way to deal with, and heal, that loss.
How is it possible to experience gratitude and grief?
One of my favorite quotes really communicates how we experience both emotions. Hilary Stanton Zunin said, “The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”
So it is important to remember, without the deep love and connections we have had, we would not be grieving and if we can find gratitude in the life you shared with your loved one you can find peace.
Here are some 5 tips for finding gratitude in your life:
1. Don’t wait until something new shows up to be grateful. Don’t live your life conditionally meaning once your external circumstances change. Rather challenge yourself to find things to be grateful for.
2. Start a gratitude journal – Start by giving thanks for one thing each day, it is amazing when you look back after a period of time how much can change.
3. Share a compliment daily. This could be to a family member or friend, or it can be asking someone to share your appreciation of something else such as “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
4. Be aware of your surroundings. It is wonderful to intentionally stop and appreciate the world around you. The trees, the birds, the flowers or even the rain or snow. This is a form of mindfulness when we stop and appreciate each moment and the things around us.
5. Tell someone you are grateful for their support. Grieving is the hardest work you will ever do and hopefully there have been people in your corner supporting you. Take time to let them know you appreciate them, it is a meaningful gesture for them and for you.
Another beautiful quote by Laurie Pollich Short says, “Gratitude doesn’t change what we have in front of us; it changes the way we see what we have.”
Seeing what we have in front of us keeps us present to ourselves and the people that are with us.
Remember you are not choosing gratitude or grief, they can be part of your life side-by-side, one balances the other. Gratitude is a practice and with any practice, you will get better, and in this case more aware in time.