“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude” A.A. Milne
Welcome to the MHS blog! Here you will find information that will hopefully improve your sense of well-being. The topics and issues that will be explored and examined in this blog are based on my professional and personal experiences, best practices, and research and new developments in mental health. Today, my thoughts are on gratitude.
On September 24, 1996, my beautiful, kind, loving, daughter Jasmine was shot and killed in my home in front of my then 8-year-old son Jordan. Jasmine had just turned 14. Her death devastated me. I was destroyed. I no longer wanted to be of this world. I had had enough. My thoughts were the darkest of the dark. I felt disconnected, numb, angry, and sad. I ruminated. I didn’t want to think or feel any differently. I didn’t think I could. I viewed everything with a lens of misery. I focused on the tragedies of my life, and how much life, and having to live sucked.
Fortunately, I eventually decided that I could not end my life. Jordan needed me alive and needed me healthy. In deciding to chose life, I then determined that I did not want to remain for the rest of my life, in this hellish place. Even though I was reluctant to let it go. I needed to change my perspective. I new that I needed to shift my thoughts and allow myself to have more positive feelings. I started with gratitude. Initially, I struggled to discover what I might be grateful for but once I started practicing gratitude daily the list grew and now I can think of a multitude of things I am grateful for. Anything from having the luxury of taking a hot shower to a sunny day to having the opportunity to create a business. When I started being intentionally thankful, I never imagined the huge impact it would have on my life. I’ve gone from hating life to loving life. I’ve gone from having nothing and feeling empty to having a full and mostly content existence. It all started with gratitude. Gratitude is a way to appreciate what we have. It’s a quality we can develop. Multiple research studies have shown that gratitude increases our overall sense of well-being, life satisfaction, optimism, happiness, self-control, ability to deal with adversity, and our physical and mental health. According to Harvard Health (2011), expressing thanks can be one of the simplest ways to feel better. Ways to cultivate gratitude include taking a moment to express thanks, praying, keeping a gratitude journal or jar and writing a thank-you note.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle