On the 23rd March is this year's Day of Reflection in association with Marie Curie, the charity for those living with terminal illness. It is an opportunity to remember our loved ones who have died, support people who are grieving, and connect with each other.
We will all be affected by grief at some time in our lives. Death is part of the circle of life. The day of reflection gives us the opportunity to reflect on those who are no longer with us.
After the loss of a loved one we often go through a phase of withdrawal, it's a natural part of our brain's defence "fight, flight or freeze" mechanism.
Withdrawal is a useful, life-preserving response that reduces vulnerability to further injury. It causes people to seek safety, to rest and recuperate after a shocking experience.
Gratitude has a part to play in recovering ourselves, and easing us out of this period of withdrawal. When we are grieving we are focussed on the past. Gratitude helps us to focus on the present moment, it is a distraction from our grief, but it can be so much more.
If we create an environment of gratitude around us it will make us appreciate what we have in life. Gratitude can lift us from grief and depression and even ease our physical aches and pains.
Gratitude can change our focus as we move through the day, it gives us a platform to engage more with other people and spurs us on to complete tasks and start new projects.
Gratitude gives us motivation in personally reaching targets and achieving goals.
It creates increased generosity and empathy for others around us, leading to more self-compassion, and that self-compassion is key to finding ourselves again.
If we are in a grateful state, we feel that we belong and are connected to the world around us and this helps in identifying our place in the world.
Gratitude improves self-esteem and helps us to naturally feel better about ourselves; which helps to dispel the feelings of guilt that often come with grief.
When we lose a loved one we are often at breaking point, all we can think about is our own loss, but during these desperate times we should remember to be grateful to those people who made Mum's final moments comfortable. Those caring professionals who spend their whole lives helping people through similar situations.
Gratitude doesn't have to be immediate. It may take time to reflect on our own situation, but gratitude allows us to see the situation more objectively and realise that we are not the only ones going through this, we are not alone.
It's also worth remembering that gratitude doesn't go out of date either. In fact remembering someone's act of kindness and thanking them months or even years later might be even more powerful.
So take a few minutes to reflect on those who we have lost, but also those who were there for you and your family at your lowest moments. In particular those special people in social care.
Using the TAP App or TAP website is the perfect way to makes sure those dedications of gratitude reach those truly deserving recipients, so go back and thank those wonderful heroes in the social care sector who have helped your family through the toughest of times.
You can listen to the related podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/thankandpraise/gratitude-with-attitude-episode-3?utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing