Giving Thanks and Living in Gratitude

Giving Thanks and Living in Gratitude

The holidays are a time for acts of selflessness and being thankful for the people, things, and ideas in your life. However, living a life of gratitude, thankfulness, and selflessness are essential life perspectives that can help you during your recovery process.  

When life is stressful and you feel weighed down by your emotions, it isn’t easy to live in gratitude. However, practicing finding the positivity in life will make it easier for you to find it when your world feels a little darker due to triggers of trauma that may cause anger, depression, or anxiety. You don’t need to wait for the holiday season to feel thankful and practice gratitude; you can practice gratitude all year round.

Cultivating Positivity

Living a life of gratitude may look slightly different from one person to the next. However, positivity is a prominent part of living in gratitude. It is not always easy to find, especially when you’ve had a bad day, are in an uncomfortable situation, or are experiencing an event that is triggering. Cultivating positivity allows you to access the emotion of gratefulness even when your mind isn’t in the best place. It won’t solve all of your problems when you’re feeling especially low, but it will help a gloomy grey cloud looming over your head feel a little bit lighter.

You may find yourself being advised by others to “smile more” in order to feel better, but that won’t necessarily work for everyone. Fortunately, there are other ways to cultivate positivity. First, reflect on the things, people, and ideas you are grateful for in your life. This could refer to supportive parents, your favorite stuffed animal, or the philosophy of grounding. Find thankfulness in the character traits and skills that make you who you are. You can be thankful for being creative, empathetic, athletic, or proactive. 

The more you involve yourself in your reflection, the easier it will be to cultivate positivity. Instead of just thinking about the things that you are grateful for, you can try writing them down, looking at pictures of your loved ones, or taking the time to meditate on them.

Learning Selflessness

Selflessness does not only help others for the kindness and respectfulness that it produces, but it also helps you lift pressure off yourself. When you get wrapped up in your problems, you can become obsessed with negative thoughts. This may cause you to wallow in guilt, sink into depression, or freeze from anxiety. Allowing yourself to think of others will take the pressure off your problems and even give you some perspective. Your emotions, thoughts, and feelings are easier to digest when you aren’t thinking about them constantly.

Practicing selflessness involves selfless thoughts and acts. This means thinking about how you can make people in your life happy. What do your friends and family want and need? How can you spread joy to others? This could also take the form of a community commitment, such as advising someone who just started their recovery journey or helping out in a soup kitchen. Selflessness can take the form of giving gifts to a friend or giving blankets to a homeless shelter. It can also take the form of service. For instance, you might cook a meal for your friend or help organize a fundraiser in your community.

Sharing Thanks

Sharing your thankfulness with others could be as simple as saying “thank you,” or it could be a more significant gesture. For example, you can send someone a card or give them a box of chocolates. You could even write them a letter about how grateful you are that they are in your life. When it comes to expressing gratefulness, you can always just say how you feel. Expressing your appreciation to others will make them feel special and remind you of the positivity in your life. 

Expressing your thankfulness out loud is an active way to connect with the things that you are thankful for. During self-reflection, you can even take your time to share gratefulness with yourself by saying what you’re thankful for out loud or writing it down in a journal. 

Sharing your thankfulness with others and listening to what others are thankful for can cause other people to realize and understand the things they are thankful for in their own lives. Wearing your gratitude on your sleeve will make it contagious to others. In the same way that smiles and laughter are contagious, so is gratitude. The world can always benefit from more people feeling the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness.