Gratitude can be one of the most powerful grief healing tools we have. It may sound like an oxymoron: Gratitude and grief are two words whose definitions are as far apart as you can get.
So is it possible to be BOTH grateful and grieving? Have you ever thought of your grief as being a gift? I am sure you are shaking your head no right now. My loss a gift-are you crazy!!!
But you may be able to look on your grief as an UNWANTED GIFT, but a GIFT all the same. It is the gift of grief, the price we have to pay for relationships and the deep love for those we have lost and for that, it may be possible to be grateful. Without the deep love and connections we have had, we would not be grieving.
Like any skill worth having or tool worth using, gratitude requires practice. Gratitude helps us see our situations in ways that can lessen anxiety, and could expand our thinking.
If you don’t already practice Gratitude it wouldn’t hurt to try it. It may be hard at first especially when you do not feel grateful for anything. But start small. Maybe you can be grateful for your morning coffee or tea, the birds singing outside, a warm bed. It is noticing the small things that we take for granted. It is being aware. It doesn’t mean that we should stop grieving the loss, but there is always a choice in how the loss is played out.
Here are some ways you can practice Gratitude:
Keep 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.
Make a gratitude jar or board – Write one thing you are grateful for each day and put it in the jar or on your board.
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. “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” You can always compliment yourself. Self-love is the first step into loving people and the world around you.
Practice Mindfulness to appreciate each moment. Focus on the present moment. Notice what’s all around you. Use all of your senses: What do you see, feel, hear, smell, or taste? Sometimes I have been grateful for a good cry, you can call them healing tears.