The end of the year is marked with several holidays meant to evoke joy and gratitude but it remains one of the toughest times of the year for those who are struggling with their mental and emotional stability. On top of our personal trails, collectively we’re dealing with the trauma and stress of Covid-19, an election year in which getting rid of the current administration was of the utmost importance and several other news stories that left us in disbelief and anguish. It’s been a tough year. I’m sure if our brains gave an annual year in review of our most dominant emotions it would read sadness, anxiety, stress, and disconsolate. The other day as I was thinking about all those moments that caused angst I asked God “what was the reason?”
God reminded me in that instant to be grateful always in all circumstances. That’s tough to hear because there are seasons in life that seem so bleak that having an attitude of gratefulness can be a chore. But the importance of being grateful was further pressed upon me in a recent interview I did with Dr. Dae Jones, a naturopathic doctor out of DC. In our discussion about how to boost our immune systems, she reminded me that being healthy starts in the mind and that having an attitude of gratitude can do wonders for your physical well being.
According to scientists and doctors, gratitude goes beyond saying thanks. It’s a positive emotion that serves a biological purpose. That means that its effects can be tracked and studied. A deep appreciation for someone or something or having the ability to connect to something larger than ourselves has strong positive psychological effects. When we hold a disposition of appreciation and gratitude it affirms the goodness and value of our lives. This positive emotion is then manifested in the body and can heal it from the inside.
I know it can be difficult to think of a list of things to be grateful for when you are experiencing grief or on the brink of an emotional and mental breakdown, but I guarantee reflecting on just one thing or person to be grateful for can improve your moods tremendously. If you are struggling to think of something to be grateful for then think of every moment this year you drew breath in your body, had a pulse, and experienced a full rotation of the sun. That alone is a lot to be grateful for.
Gratitude journals with prompts are a great way to practice gratitude and keep a positive mindset. Below are 5 journal prompts to ponder for this challenging year.
- Name a positive moment that happened this year.
- Name a moment in which you had fun this year.
- Identify an experience that was unexpected but was a pleasant surprise.
- Who makes you feel loved and why?
- What has been your biggest revelation that has aid to your growth?