One of the many self-care practices I generally implement when going through dark times is a gratitude practice. This can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal where I write down a list of five things that I am grateful for from the day before I go to bed. It can also be as extensive as using my 101-bead gratitude “necklace” to count off 101 things I’m grateful for from the day.
Often I implement this practice once I’m already down in the midst of the darkness when I’m trying to climb my way back out of the pit. This time I was already using my daily gratitude journal practice before the downward slide even began. It’s interesting to notice the difference.
I’ve been in a funk all week. I’m feeling really discouraged that I just can’t seem to be the person that I want to be. The lack of sunlight this time of year doesn’t help; it tends to make things look even bleaker than they really are when I do get down.
The one thing that has helped keep me from getting overwhelmed by this current bout of discouragement is the laughter that so often fills my days at the office. We manage to find ways to (gently) tease each other and things to laugh about multiple times a day. My gratitude for the chance to work in an environment like this knows no bounds.
Things have been unusually busy this week at work as a number of deadlines are all hitting at roughly the same time. In the midst of the busyness over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself letting my daily gratitude journaling slip away. I’m just so tired by the time I fall into bed each night that it feels like a burden instead of a gift to take time for that one extra task.
Despite the lapse in actively writing down the things that I’m grateful each day, I’ve found that I’ve internalized the practice of gratitude enough that I continue to look for and notice things that I’m grateful for throughout the day.
Today marks the end of my month of publicly posting my daily gratitude statuses to Facebook and Twitter. The month has gone by quickly! There are still so many things that I am grateful for that I didn’t get a chance to mention.
Although this is my third year of doing this on Facebook, I still made new discoveries this year about myself and my relationship to gratitude as I observed my progress through this exercise.
In honor of the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday yesterday in the U.S., gratitude seems like an appropriate topic to explore for this week’s link love.
I’ve shared a lot about how powerful the practice of gratitude is in my own life. The truth is that it’s still easy to be grateful when things are going well. It’s harder to maintain a practice of gratitude when things are not going so well. Of course, the true power of gratitude shows up when we use it in the hard times, even when we’re not finding it an easy practice to continue.
This week’s set of links are focused on practicing gratitude in those difficult times in our lives when it doesn’t come quite as naturally to most of us. (Or at least it doesn’t to me.)
“Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”
We were discussing Biblical Wisdom Literature today in class, which includes the book of Ecclesiastes. In general, this book conveys a rather disillusioned and pessimistic view of the meaning of life, or the lack thereof. It was obvious from the class discussion that many people find this book disturbing, and I have my moments when I’d agree.
I also have plenty of times when I’m grateful for its inclusion in the canon because I find it comforting.
I’ve noticed something very interesting in my daily postings of gratitude on Facebook this month. Gratitude is popular!
I generally get a minimum of response to things I post on my personal Facebook timeline and on my Facebook business page. In fact, I’ve slowly posted less and less often on both places because it seems like few people are seeing or reading the things I post there. So I’ve been really surprised at the response that this gratitude practice is getting.