Thank you for joining us for this week’s blog. The last blog we did focused on hope, and now we want to focus on something else very timely right now: gratitude. We find ourselves in the middle of a world-wide pandemic fearing for our own or our loved one’s safety. How perfect that we now discover, or in some cases, re-discover, the value of gratitude.
What is gratitude, and why is it important?
Gratitude can be defined as the ability to look around, notice and appreciate. Although those words are simple, it does not take away from the challenge of practicing gratitude. As human beings, we have a natural tendency to think negatively. When someone tells you ten good things and one bad, we typically hold on to the negative… and likely for a long time too. Unfortunately, that is entirely normal, so it’s our job to do a bit of work and intentionally focus on the good.
With this pandemic, we find ourselves focused on the bad – which to some extent is realistic and necessary. However, we all naturally worry and jump to the worst-case scenario, and even look for things that confirm exactly what we are assuming. Once you add media and social media into the mix, we are suddenly lining up with 300 other people to get into the grocery store for items that we “need”.
Gratitude is important because it is one of the most significant connections to happiness. The brilliant Brene Brown says,
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful”
In this video, Ms. Brown speaks to this vital connection of gratitude and joy, as well as how her family practices gratitude on an ongoing basis:.
How can gratitude help with your mental health?
Gratitude can shift your perspective to a positive – it can help with many challenges you face by:
- Changing the focus of your thoughts, even if only temporarily.
- Helping to ground you by focusing on what is in front of you, instead of worrying about the past or future.
Remember, it’s not about how much we have to be grateful for, or how grand the things are that we are grateful for; it’s about the pause, shift, and redirection of thinking that brings a small element of joy in our thought patterns. We could all use that relief, especially right now.
How do you practice gratitude?
“Practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and we’re enough”.-Brene Brown
There are many different ways you can practice gratitude and finding the right approach will take a bit of work. For me, my gratitude practice began when I finished university and got my first job. It was exactly what I wanted and something that I achieved on my own. Every day that I pulled up to the location of that job, I made an intentional note to acknowledge my journey. This practice continues in different ways today in my life. Every time I drive into the parking lot at our current offices, I am especially appreciative when I see the building. When my kids wake up in the morning, I take an extra-long moment appreciating their beautiful faces. When my husband comes home at the end of the day, I always remind myself of how lucky I am. Finally, I work hard to let my team at the office know how grateful I am for their commitment and support of my vision.
Since we all have a little extra time with the ones we love right now, it’s a good time to look around and see the joy by being grateful.
If you are interested in counselling or would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us, we would be happy to speak with you.