A Virtual World of Live Pictures.

“How can I be thankful for something when I’m mourning my deceased loved one? I can’t begin to think about appreciation or thanks.” These comments are quite understandable early in the complaint process. But later, holding on to these affirmations will remove an important action that reduces the intensity of the grievance and that others have found helpful.

Gratitude is that quality or feeling of being thankful, which affirms life and restores energy. Affirming life and restoring energy are critical mental and physical factors when coping with the death of a loved one. Here are five ideas to think about using gratitude as a new routine in your daily life and to help you cope with your loss.

1. Start first thing in the morning using gratitude as a wake-up ritual. In response to a question I asked members of one of my grievance support groups about how they have been coping with their losses thus far, one woman shared the following. “When I get up every morning, I start the day by going over everything I’m thankful for. It keeps me going in the right direction.” What it does, of course, is positively balance much of the negativity that normally floods the mind at the beginning of the day during grief. Try starting your day this way.

2. Make a list each night of the things you are grateful for. After you finish your list, ask yourself if you have included small things to be grateful for or just the big things. What is big or small depends on how you perceive it. Some of the little things for me are all the things I take for granted, like the clean air I breathe, the people who greet me by name, the ones who smile or shake my hand and make me feel accepted, my energy level (until it drops), and a host of other things. Plan to read your gratitude list whenever you start to feel down.

3. When grieving, if anger lingers in your thoughts too long, shift your attention to a person, place, or thing for which you are grateful. Anger is an extremely physical and emotional drain. Although anger can be completely justified, allowing it to become a long-term part of your daily thought life will prolong your grievance work. Use your self-talk to change the scene: “I’m angry and rightly so, but I choose to be grateful for all the help I’m getting from my friends. I’m truly grateful.”

4. Show gratitude to and for yourself. Develop the attitude of gratitude to include yourself and all the small victories you’ve had as you begin to accept your life without the deceased’s physical presence. You’ve made it through the funeral, the vacation, the trip to the lawyer’s office, condolences from friends and people you didn’t know, and a host of other stressful events. Say to yourself, “I am grateful for the courage I showed and my persistence and resilience.”

5. Use a symbol to remind you to express gratitude. Some people use the Gratitude Glass that can be purchased online or play music with a gratitude theme. Your symbol can be anything you see fit, from something your loved one owned to a trinket you bought for them or an item that was a gift. Carry it in your pocket or bag; Place it on the dashboard of your car or in a special place in your home. When you see it, use it as a signal to check your attitude. Then immediately think about the special things you appreciate and are grateful for despite your pain. This act will only focus you on a positive path.

6. Give thanks each day at a specific time to God or your Higher Power. Make this a part of your prayer life. You will reap the benefits; or, as Sarah Ban Breathnach puts it in Simple Abundance: “You simply won’t be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you.” Thanksgiving will summon inner peace.

In short, gratitude is an inspiring force that can add another significant factor in developing a strong inner life. It makes us draw attention to what is good, what is beautiful, what is complete and abundant; it will open up a wealth of possibilities, which is exactly what we need when we are in pain.

What most of us forget is that, just like kindness (the best way to stay healthy), love, and a good laugh, the act of being grateful floods our bodies with feel-good hormones at a time when they are most needed. Living gratitude; it will ensure you get through the many changes you face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *