Gratitude and Grief: Do they work together?

As you face your journey of grief you probably have a feeling of emptiness and might be thinking that happiness is far in your future. It might seem like there is not anything positive in your life after your loss. It is easy to think about the negative things in life, especially when dealing with grief. Why should you be positive when it seems like you have lost so much?


Being grateful and grief sound opposite of each other. Although, it has been found that gratitude and grief can work together. This does not mean that you are grateful for your loss as no one is, instead focus on the good times that you had together and think about the memories that you are grateful for. Concentrating on gratitude, will force you to live in the present focusing on where you are today. Challenge yourself to find something to be grateful for each day.


Start your day identifying two or three things you are grateful for; this might happen as you are getting out of bed. It may be something as simple as the sunshine or birds singing. You might consider keeping a gratitude journal. Journaling can be a powerful and effective way to help with emotions and grief. If you are not into writing down your thoughts, you might consider recording a message on your phone. I know one person who keeps a gratitude jar. She has the jar on her kitchen counter and every day she adds a gratitude note in her jar. Your challenge should be to focus on the good.


Finding something that you are interested in doing is another way to generate positive thoughts. Engaging in an activity or something you are interested in doing will produce positive thoughts and help you live in your present circumstances. This will be temporary but that is okay as small steps toward healing are fine. It can be difficult when grieving to find something that you are interested in doing but you should look for at least one. Maybe it is reading, taking a walk, going to a child’s sports event, or meeting a friend for coffee. Even if you only spend five minutes on the activity you like, it will produce positivity within you. Increasing your engagement with activities that interest you will result in an increase in a positive outlook.


Focus on what matters to you now as it might not be what mattered to you before the loss. A friend shared that she no longer wanted to work in the yard as that was something she and her husband did together. Now she hires out the yard so she does not have to relive those experiences. She is spending more time with her children and grandchildren as that is more important to her now. For some who are grieving, what matters might be a cause to help prevent what happened to their loved one such as supporting initiatives for cancer or organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


Notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life. When we are faced with a loss, we tend to focus on what we lost and concentrate our energy on the loss which results in a negative outlook on life. The power of gratitude will help you focus on what you have as opposed to focusing on what you have lost. Simply being grateful can give your mood a big boost, among other benefits. Being grateful for small things in life and refocusing your energy toward an activity will result in a more positive mindset.


What are 3 things you are grateful for today?

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