How to find gratitude during difficult times
With Thanksgiving coming up this week, it’s the season for gratitude. But how do you find gratitude when the one thing you really want has been so elusive?
I know trying to conceive can be an all-encompassing emotional experience. And when you’re feeling down or cynical or un-optimistic, it can be hard to find space for gratitude.
But here’s why gratitude can actually help, AND how to find it.
First things first: gratitude is a practice. Just like lifting weights, it’s hard the first time and you might not be awesome at it. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. (and also why it shouldn’t just be a once-a-year thing)
Second, research has shown that regularly finding gratitude has a number of health benefits including:
- increased optimism (a major plus when you’re trying to get pregnant)
- greater resilience (which helps us handle setbacks and difficulties in life–hello negative pregnancy test)
- a stronger immune system
- better quality sleep (so important for your hormones!)
- healthier relationships (because trying to get pregnant can be a challenge for even the strongest relationships)
I’d say these are good reasons to push through the muck and find a little gratitude, wouldn’t you?
So how do you practice gratitude when you’re feeling ungrateful?
The whole point of a gratitude practice is to make it heartfelt. So find what you can be grateful for in the moment: maybe that piece of pumpkin pie, a smile from a stranger, clean socks, a good book. Close your eyes and find one small thing that you can appreciate right now. It doesn’t have to be big or grand–sometimes those small moments can hold a lot of magic.
Then get specific.
Why are you grateful for this thing? How does it make you feel?
I’m grateful for pumpkin pie because it tastes sooooo good and I only get it once a year. I’m grateful for that smile from a stranger at the grocery story because it made me smile back and made me feel warm inside. I’m grateful for clean socks because it means the laundry is done and fresh socks are so cozy. You get the idea.
That’s all you have to do.
Try pausing 3 times during your day to appreciate just one small thing. Or make it a morning practice by writing out 5 things you’re grateful for to start your day off on a good note. Whatever works for you.
Start small, get specific, and do it regularly. As you do, it gets easier and the difficult emotions and struggle you’re going through might not get easier, but it will be easier to bear, and you’ll have more to be grateful for.
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