Every wellness journey has ups and downs. Whether you’ve failed at making a goal or you’re celebrating big achievements, it’s essential to keep a positive attitude and hopeful heart if you want to continue making progress. Cultivating gratitude can provide the steadfast positivity needed to ride out those periods of disappointment and carry on toward lifelong wellness.
Gratitude Is a Great Thing
What’s so great about gratitude? Well, a lot! Consciously listing out the things you are thankful for in life can generate a strong sense of identity and self-confidence – not to mention happiness. The positivity that stems from gratitude can also relieve stress, which is excellent for physical and mental wellbeing. In addition, gratitude can be a source of motivation, inspiring some to create even more wonderful accomplishments and goals.
Gratitude Comes When Acknowledging Loss
For many, reflection is triggered at times of loss – we tend to focus on the things that we don’t have, or things that we recently lost, instead of acknowledging all that we have. This is particularly common when experiencing a physical injury, health setback, new diagnosis, or death/loss of a loved one.
Though these life events can be traumatic and difficult to cope with, they are actually prime opportunities for generating gratitude. Consciously reflecting on what we do have and what we can do can help redirect attention to the positive elements of life. This hyper-focused gratitude can be therapeutic, healing, and motivational – especially during challenging times.
Questions for Generating Gratitude
It’s easy to agree that gratitude is great, but sometimes pinpointing things to be thankful for is not so simple. If you’re having trouble practicing gratitude, start by taking inventory of your life with these questions. And don’t rush! Take time to reflect by writing down your thoughts before moving on to the next question. A few examples have been provided to get the gears turning.
- • What daily tasks am I capable of fulfilling myself? (Ex. Hygiene, getting dressed, preparing my own meals)
- • Do I have someone to share my thoughts with? (Ex. Partner, friend, parent, colleague) • Who looks up to me as a role model? (Ex. Nieces/nephews, students, grandchildren)
- • Do I have the capacity to challenge myself physically if I choose to? (Ex. Increasing my exercise routine, trying new cooking techniques)
- • What resources do I have to help me on my wellness journey? (Ex. Fitness tracker, health journal, yoga mat, recipe books, etc.)
- • Do I have the ability to make choices when I visit the grocery store? (Ex. Choosing flavors and brands, choosing which grocery store to visit and when, etc.)
- • Do I have the ability to make choices when I exercise? (Ex. Choosing where/when/with whom to exercise)
- • What have I learned about myself since starting my wellness journey? (Ex. Preferences, limitations, sources of motivation, etc.)
- Once you dive in, you’ll probably find that you have so much more to be thankful for than what you originally realized. And remember, gratitude is not just a list of possessions – it’s often recognizing your own self-determination, supportive relationships, freedom to make choices, and ability to change the course of your life if and when you choose. And those are awesome things to be grateful for!