You know what it's like to dread the holidays, don't you?
The pressure to exude joy and thanksgiving causes us to stuff feelings of grief, sorrow, or depression.
Which makes things worse.
Finding a sliver of hope & comfort during a joyless & thankless holiday season is the topic of our October newsletter series.
FUNERAL PLANNING AT THE FAMILY THANKSGIVING TABLE
A few years ago a loved one took his life the week of Thanksgiving -- our favorite holiday.
Instead of enjoying a table with laughter and a feast with him on Thanksgiving day, family members gathered around the same table to plan his funeral.
The next day -- my birthday -- we buried him.
We found little for which to give thanks that week. Looking back on my gratitude list, I see the necessity of cultivating gratitude that holiday season when it was especially difficult.
During this October newsletter series, you will learn:
- How I leaned into gratitude in 2019.
- The brain science I trusted to get me through that dark holiday season.
- What is and is not true about gratitude
- Tiny action steps to help you through any tough season in your life, especially the holidays.
RELEASING THE "SHOULDS"
My first step toward honoring gratitude through grief, sorrow, and confusion was to ditch the "should" pressures through November and December.
- You should feel peace
- You should feel grateful
- You should feel joy
I felt guilty for not feeling grateful!
THE REAL MEANING OF GRATITUDE
Once I understood the real meaning of gratitude, I realized 3 things:
- Gratitude is not a feeling.
- Gratitude is a practice.
- Gratitude is not even a season.
Turning the page on your monthly calendar is not the cure for feeling anything.
GRIEF & GRATITUDE CAN COEXIST
Gratitude seems impossible in the midst of grief, doesn't it?
We tend to buy into this falsehood because we are stuck on the idea that gratitude is an emotion.
In reality, practicing gratitude drives emotion -- not the other way around.
Understanding this truth about gratitude -- through experience, then study -- is the only reason I chose to embrace gratitude in the aftermath of my family member's death.
This quote from a leading expert on the science behind gratitude, Dr. Robert A. Emmons.
By sharing my experiences and a decade of study, I hope this month's series prepares you to lean into gratitude, even when life is painful.
- It's ok not to feel grateful or joyous through the end of the year.
- You are normal when depression, anxiety, and sorrow are exacerbated during this "joyous" time of year.
- Gratitude comes with practice, not a season.
Next week, we delve into gratitude science and how we can rewire our brains.
Thank you for reading. As always, questions and feedback are appreciated.
P. S. If this newsletter edition helped you, I hope you will forward to a friend.
HOW TO RESPOND
WHEN GRATITUDE IS HARD TO FIND:
Tuesday, October 18th
11:00 a.m. Chicago time
- You will meet others who want to build a gratitude practice, with whom you can partner with as an accountability crew.
- And I'll be providing weekly emails to all workshop participants through November & December.
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