Friday, November 1, 2013

November's Grief Project - Attitude of Gratitude

Welcome November!  With the new month comes a new project to help soothe my grief.  For November I decided I would focus on the Attitude of Gratitude, or how to focus on the positive in order to see beauty and joy in the world, even while grief still lives with me.  I know that not everyone might be ready for this step, that is why for me, I planned it later in my grief journey.  But, I think there is something healing in the power of being thankful and so does science.

Michael Craig Miller M.D. from Harvard Medical School who writes for states that "Researchers who study gratitude find that it is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness" and that "Gratitude helps people: feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships."  all which would help ease feelings of sorrow and depression brought on by grief.

Not satisfied with that answer?  Then check out this video from Soul Pancake for proof that happiness increases with the use of gratitude (and therefore hopefully help balance feelings of grief). 

Wow!  Wasn't that cool!  Point proven (I hope).  In Dr. Miller's article, The Mental Health Benefits of Gratitude, he also goes on to give examples of how one can cultivate gratitude for a happier life, with reduction of mental health or in our case, grief symptoms.  Dr. Miller lists the following as ideas to help bring my gratitude, thereby joy into your life.
  1. Write Thank You Notes
  2. Thank Someone Mentally
  3. Keep A "Gratitude Journal"
  4. Pray & Mediate
He writes that in order to cultivate gratitude for happiness we need to make it a daily habit, not just once or during a certain time of year.  So for the month of November I thought I would give it a try to help soften my grief, or at least find bright spots in the day again.  Below is a list of ideas and techniques I plan on using throughout this month.  I will post about them as we go.

8 Attitude of Gratitude Ideas & Techniques
  1. Day of "Thank You" Universe
  2. Affirmations
  3. Day of NOT Complaining, NOT Even Once
  4. Gratitude Journals
  5. Thank Someone Mentally
  6. Send Thank You Cards
  7. Negative Thought Stopping Techniques
  8. Meditate
  9. Gratitude for Grief Photo Challenge 
(If you have anymore, just let me know.  I would love to add it to the list and try it out.  I'm always open to new ideas.)

Oh, and if you are wondering what happened to some of the techniques I mentioned using in other months but haven't posted about yet, I promise I will post them.  I have already done them all.  It is just so hard to fit everything in. 

Anyways, I look forward to this month and hope that by focusing on cultivating an attitude of gratitude for 30 days I will find some happiness even in a life after loss.  I mean, that is all we can really hope for, right?

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