Ask Annah: How Can I be Grateful in the Midst of So Much Pain?

Annah Elizabeth Ask Annah, Loss, Grief, and Healing, Mental Health 2 Comments

Dearest Neighbor,

November 1st always arrives with a flourish of “gratitude” memes and requests for you to participate in all sorts of activities and posts throughout the month.

This daily practice can be downright grueling, disheartening, and un-empowering when you are in the doldrums or in a state of despair.

I recall feeling inadequate during my grief periods following my son’s death, two miscarriages, my six-week psychiatric stay (over Christmas) for severe depression, and the discovery that my husband and my best friend were having an affair. Gratitude? It was the furthest thing from my mind.

If, like I did, you’re asking some form of “How in the H— am I supposed to think about anything but breathing, taking care of my children, and not falling asleep behind the wheel because I’m sleep deprived, [Insert your whatever]” this post is for you.

Yes, Neighbor, it does get better and there are simple things you can do to experience gratitude in the grief.

Whenever possible, practice being in the moment.

If you find yourself thinking obsessively, give pause and look around for something that makes you smile, warms your heart, or brings you peace. If you don’t see anything in your physical vision, imagine that something in your mind’s eye. Allow your five senses to come alive…see, hear, smell, touch, and taste as much as you can. Allowing yourself to find pleasure in any given moment brings healing to all of your five facets.

Acknowledge the coexistence of sorrow and joy.

Once you’re able to be in the moment, you’re now able to recognize the simple, yet magical moments of warmth, joy, and peace that can exist in the midst of whatever life storm you are facing.

Give thanks for all of your life experiences.

When you recognize those beautiful seconds, send out a prayer, in a way that feels right and true to you, for that moment. Giving thanks in this way reinforces how important this life event is to us, which in turn fosters our sense of wonder. When we look through that lens, we invite more of those instances into our lives, simply because we are prepared for them.

The second part is often a little harder, Journeyer, but if you can find a way to view your hardship as an opportunity for soul and personal growth, it makes it a smidge more palatable.

And remember, were it not for loss events and grief, there’d be no need for healing. Healing is another word for moving our lives forward to our next big dream or goal and is one of the ways we achieve our life purpose and our soul mission.

Together we’re helping heal worlds of hurt, so please share your tips, strategies, thoughts, and questions in the comments below.

Yours in hope, healing, happiness, and gratitude,

 

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