About 7 years ago, I was listening to book The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting by Brene Brown. I received many take-aways from this book but perhaps the most meaningful for me was the research on gratitude. More specifically, that we cannot have joy without gratitude.
While I have always thought of myself as appreciative and thankful, learning the connection between joy and gratitude was impactful to me. I implemented an outward gratitude practice right away and started peppering my family with the question “What are you grateful for?” almost daily. Although this was entertaining at times (kids say funny things), I have come to believe that inward practice and individual reflection is even more important.
It can be difficult during dark or sad times to appreciate what we do have. I struggle with this and I know people I love and the clients I work with do too. The silver lining and bright side are hard to grasp when we feel low. Yet, this is when we should count our blessings the most. This directive – count your blessings – is included in the second book I wrote, Bits of Divorce Wisdom. Appreciating as much as we can shifts our outlook for the better. I know this to be true for myself. I make it a daily practice to write down what and who I am grateful for in a journal each morning. I do this before checking email or looking at my phone and feel far more grounded each day as a result.
Being grateful won’t eliminate stressful periods, trauma and emotional upheaval. But, practicing gratitude will help you frame experiences in a different light, wade through feelings and rebound. In the U.S., we will celebrate Thanksgiving next week which is often when people talk about what they are thankful for. Instead of an annual tradition, perhaps this year is the year to make gratitude a daily practice?
For more insight like this, buy one of my books on divorce.