The practice of gratitude in the time of grief may contribute to a greater relationship among family members, a higher sense of well-being and a faster rate of recovery from grief. But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time. That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack or lost, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing. Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope. There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, good health, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, our home, warm jackets, food on our table, the ability to read, the smell of flowers, taking in nature. What’s on your list?
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