Lifting Ourselves With Gratitude
Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
Gratitude is a helpful tool to create more happiness in our lives. If we feel even a small amount of background unhappiness, we can practice taking a pause for a moment or two and observing our feelings with love and acceptance. Once we’re able to do that, it’s easier to truly allow gratitude to come through for whatever blessings or learning are appearing in the moment—the beauty of the day, the fresh air we breathe, the love in our lives, and even whatever wisdom we can gain from our life experiences.
If we’re having a hard time feeling grateful because our pain is too deep, that’s okay—we can try to be loving and accepting of where we are, and this is the first step toward more peace and clarity.
Before I started using the pause, I’d also had some success with countering negative thoughts that came through with questions like, “Is there anything that could be positive in this situation? Even if it’s a tiny thing, what is there to be grateful for? What good could possibly come from this situation? What experiences and blessings can I appreciate today?”
Sometimes, we can only think of learning, or the fact that something worse didn’t happen. Or we can only find a tiny thing of beauty in our environment, or the kindness of a friend to be grateful for.
But especially if you don’t have time to pause and really observe your pain with love and acceptance, at least gratitude can be a first step toward feeling whole again, and seeing your situation from a different perspective.
Here are some affirmations that may be helpful reminders:
I am thankful for every small blessing around me, and I set my intention to notice the beauty and good in my life.
I open my mind and my heart to appreciate the learning I gain from my life experiences.
I am kind to myself and others, and I allow my feelings to be as they are, letting compassion into my heart.