With Thanksgiving around the corner, we are in for a rush of advertising messages (or well-meaning friends and family) encouraging us to focus on being grateful. Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially when you are grieving.
It’s absolutely okay to take a pass on feeling grateful. But there may be some comfort in gratitude, even in the midst of grief.
Research shows that increased gratitude is associated with improved emotional and physical health. If you’re sharing your journey with others, it may help to talk through your intention, while allowing open discussion about pain and sadness. This experience of feeling heard and understood may open the door to recognizing what is still comforting and nurturing to you.
If you feel ready, here are some ways to cultivate gratitude.
- Start a daily gratitude journal. Write down a few instances you’re grateful for each day.
- Write thank you cards (or letters or emails) on a regular basis. You might also consider writing one to the person who died, thanking them for what they contributed to your life.
- Thank yourself. This might mean writing yourself a thank you letter or just silently acknowledging what you’ve done for yourself or others.