When we are down, especially after a breakup, the last thing on our minds is gratitude… we feel we have no reason to feel grateful in the midst of so much pain.
However, there’s always a reason to feel grateful, even if it is just for a simple action or occurrence, usually overlooked.
Building gratitude is about paying attention to these small events that even though may seem small, they too are part of our lives and when we learn to perceive them can make our lives brighter.
This is not to say you need to ignore your pain – not at all! It’s about including all experiences in your awareness. Understanding one’s suffering as well as the good that still surrounds us – is about finding that balance. Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.
Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve our health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Here’s a simple exercise that helps us pay attention to these positive events in our lives, developing our ability to feel gratitude:
The 3 Good things
Every night, right before you go to bed write a journal (piece of paper or digital format) 3 good aspects you encountered today.
It can be something as simple as having enjoyed a lovely meal, an insightful conversation with a friend, a peaceful moment you had, a practice you have tried (e.g. mindfulness), etc. Basically, anything that you have lived that day that was pleasant, choose your favourite three and note them.
With practice, we learn to view these ‘small’ events as special and of great importance, which help us balance off the negative aspects we endure, which in turn contributes to improving resilience.
Life is made of small moments and happiness is in the details. But if we don’t notice them what we are left with is the burden of the less pleasant events alone.
It’s all about balance and that balance is dependent on how we choose to perceive our days.
Wishing you a kind recovery.