Feeling grateful while experiencing depression is tough, no kidding!
Finding things to be grateful for, while your life seems to be pointless and every cell in your body vibrates with either pain, fatigue or both, does not seem a natural or even a reasonable thing to do.
What is there to be grateful for? “I will be grateful when I get better!” Now, this thought resonates pretty well with the left brain’s logic, right?
So, why is it then, if we drop our attention deep within and keep quiet enough to listen to our hearts and souls, we would hear their whispers of despair: “But I want and need to be filled with gratitude! I am starved emotionally and spiritually without it! Please, help me to feel it!”
It is hard to feel… and yet it is needed to heal, to thrive, to experience life fully….
So, today and always, I encourage you to CULTIVATE gratitude.
Begin asking yourself this question daily: “What am I grateful for?”
Believe me, the more you ask yourself this question, the easier it would be to come up with an answer. There was a time in my life when all that I could think of was: “I am grateful to be old enough to buy and keep cats without needing anyone’s permission!”
If you are really blocked and cannot access your inner feelings of gratitude, ask yourself a different question: “What am I grateful not to have?”
I highly recommend using one (or more!) of the suggestions below for at least a few weeks to experience the healing power of gratitude in your depression recovery journey.
Suggestion #1: Every day, at the end of the day, sit down and take a moment to centre. Light a candle if you like using candles. Then dedicate no more than five minutes to writing five things you are grateful for. Just five! You can do it!
Suggestion #2: Do as in the previous suggestion, but instead of using a journal or a notebook, write each thing you are grateful for on a small piece of paper. Then fold it or scrunch it up and place in a glass or ceramic jar (you can even label it “Gratitude jar”). You can have a “lucky dip” into this jar whenever you are feeling low and remind yourself that you are far from being broken, my dear friend, and all can and will be well!
Suggestion #3: For a specific unpleasant or painful event in your life that still affects and troubles you deeply take time during the day to rewrite your story about this event from a viewpoint of gratitude. What did you learn? What did you overcome? What did you gain? What did you develop? This journalling session can set in motion clearing out and shifting the stagnant, negative and stuck emotions in your body, mind and spirit.
Whatever way you choose to practice being grateful, do it with love and gentleness towards yourself. Sometimes, we feel so hurt and/or numb that nothing comes to mind, and that’s ok. It will pass! You will be well and whole again!
Gratitude is a deep inner process. It takes time to develop and/or re-develop the habit of noticing, observing and appreciating the good. Doing it regularly trains your brain to focus on the good and give thanks. Also, since your brain knows every evening you must write down five things to be grateful for, your subconscious mind would start finding and remembering those things throughout the day.
Finally, whenever you feel grateful, notice how and where does your body feel gratitude. Is it an expanding feeling in your chest? Tingling sensation in your fingertips? Relaxed shoulders? Warming wave of ease throughout your whole body? Pay attention to your body and note down how it communicates with you and, may I suggest, invite a feeling of deep appreciation of how marvellous and amazing your body is!
Love, light and healing!