In recent years, gratitude practices have been acknowledged as beneficial for mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. Focusing on what you’re grateful for places your attention on the present moment and can soothe feelings of grief and loss. When you’ve recently lost a loved one, cultivating gratitude can be incredibly difficult. At Cypress Lawn, our devoted staff members help families in San Francisco and the Bay Area heal after a loss and find the following gratitude practices especially helpful.
Start a gratitude journal.
Writing down what you’re grateful for can help relieve feelings of grief and encourage focusing on the positive things in life. A gratitude journal doesn’t need to follow a certain format. Perhaps every morning, you simply list three things for which you’re grateful. As the weeks progress, you may find yourself discovering things throughout your day that you truly value and appreciate.
Create new memories with loved ones.
While it’s important to honor old traditions while you’re grieving, you’ll also want to make new memories with family and friends. Having fresh experiences can help keep you engaged and fulfilled and less focused on your grief. Consider embracing a new hobby or taking a new fitness class at the gym. Doing something as simple as trying a new restaurant or hitting an unfamiliar hiking trail can create new neural pathways in the brain and promote peace of mind.
Ask for help when you need it.
Leaning on loved ones when you’re grieving can help you focus on gratitude in life’s most challenging moments. Whether it’s something small like a car ride or more elaborate like a meal train, ask family and friends for assistance. As a result, you may find yourself feeling grateful for the people in your life who support you when you need it most.
Volunteer if you feel up for it.
Another way to cultivate gratitude is volunteering your time to a worthwhile cause. This can help move your attention from your loss to others who need help. You may even find yourself connecting and relating to people who have been through a similar experience of loss. There are many ways to devote your time and energy to a worthy local cause. If needed, our staff can provide recommendations for local organizations accepting volunteers.
Grief and gratitude often live side by side. Our compassionate team connects local families with in-person and online grief resources to help them on their healing journey. Contact us today to learn more.