The Worst Time for Gratitude

Do you know the worst time to try to feel grateful? Most of us know it’s important to keep an eagle eye out to appreciate the small and large gifts life bestows. However, problems arise when you’re miserable and someone (or a judgmental inner voice) tells you to stop feeling sorry for yourself and focus on your blessings. If you succeed, you end up with a veneer of gratitude over an unhealed gash of pain. You may act grateful on the outside but feel uneasy on the inside. Even worse, you may lose touch with what real gratitude feels like.

Here’s the tip. Check whether you’re ready to let down your guard and feel how ungrateful you feel sometimes. You may need help letting go of the notion that once you start feeling bad, you’ll never stop. You may also need help discovering the short-lived course emotional pain completes when it’s unobstructed by your fear. When you’re ready to feel, seek loved ones’ soft eyes, shoulders and hearts for support. Allow sad, mad, scared emotions to flow briefly (1—3 minutes max). Notice how quickly your breathing eases, tension subsides and relaxation ensues. Slow down and focus awareness only on what feels better in your body for at least another 3 minutes.

Once you’re feeling okay again, notice whatever well being you’re experiencing right now no matter how small or large. This is real and this is a gift. Now is a great time to count your blessings. Repeat as necessary.

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