Submitted by Louise Creswick
Finding gratitude both during and after a loss has been a game-changer for me. In fact, it made such an impact that I continue to practice gratitude every single day using the wonderful Gratitude app. After losing both parents, I realized that finding gratitude following any traumatic event does not mean I needed to face each day full of positivity and ignore the grief and emotions associated with loss. It was about working with the feelings I had and even being grateful for those. Grief is a natural process.
Practicing gratitude during grief helped me to find a place where I could reconnect with the joys of life after loss and explore the possibilities that were open to me for rebuilding my life.
I became interested in the scientifically proven benefits of practicing gratitude, and the impact on resilience during difficult times. I often reflect on the three things I’m grateful for after loss:
#1. Grateful that I lost myself: Yes, this felt messy and uncomfortable at the time. After losing my parents, I had no idea who I was anymore or what I wanted from life. But you know what, it turns out that being lost, was a sure sign that I was well on the way to finding a different version of myself.
#2. Grateful that I lost my job: Losing my career of 13 years – the thing I thought I always wanted – helped me to realize it wasn’t really what made me happy. So losing my job after all that other loss nudged me into re-discovering my life and starting to live with purpose.
#3. Grateful I said goodbye to the things/people that didn’t serve me: Acknowledging this meant I could let go of anything that was weighing me down (including my own thoughts) or holding me back. It is because of this, I have been able to grow into a better version of myself. The version I was meant to be, not what others wanted me to be.
After discovering the Gratitude app by accident (in an app store search), I found a way that felt simple and easy to lean into gratitude on a daily basis. I loved the simplicity, accessibility, and ease of the app. It's lovely to see how the app is evolving as I continue to take a few moments each day to focus on all that I have – rather than complain about all the things I think I deserve or wish I had. This remains an important part of my well-being and even though grief never completely goes away, gratitude is a reminder for myself and my clients that there is life after loss.