Can we grieve loss while still feeling gratitude for the goodness in our lives?
After we experience a loss, we tend to focus on what we no longer have. As a result, we focus on what is missing in our life, rather than all the wonderful things we still have. Finding gratitude in our everyday lives can help us see our situations in ways that can lessen anxiety and help us cope with grief.
Here are some ways you can practice gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal - Start by giving thanks for one thing each day. Nothing is too big or too small. If it comes to your mind, it is worth writing down. It is amazing when you look back to see how much can change over time.
Give at least one compliment daily - It can be to a person, or it can be asking someone to share your appreciation of something else, like asking “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” Don’t forget that you can always compliment yourself. Self-love is the first step into loving others and the world around you.
Practice mindfulness to appreciate each moment - Focus on the present moment and what’s all around you. Use all of your senses: What do you see, feel, hear, smell, or taste? This practice helps ground you in the present and can loosen the grip of darker emotions for a time.
It may be hard at first especially when you do not feel grateful for anything. Start small, maybe you can be grateful for your morning coffee, a warm meal, or a good song. It is noticing the small things that we take for granted and being aware of the world around us that can help shift our focus from grief. Grief isn’t something to get over. Without the deep love and connection we’ve had with those we’ve lost, we wouldn’t be grieving. Gratitude has the power to help those in mourning rise above a loss providing hope and moments of grace.