Finding Your Gratitude

Notebook with the words I am grateful for written in pen with a candle burning nearby.Life hasn’t been easy for most of us these past eight months. We are drained from the many stressors caused by the constraints of the pandemic. You may have major financial hardships, others may be experiencing health issues and so many others are struggling to be a parent, teacher and employee, all at the same time. And, we can’t ignore the political and racial divisions we have in this country.

Let’s just say, I think if we could, we would all be on a warm beach somewhere right now!

Cultivating Gratitude

So, how do we cultivate gratitude during this holiday season when many of us will not be able to celebrate with loved ones or be together in our houses of worship?

I invite you to try something different. I want you to get out of your head with all the noise and get into your heart to find a real sense of peace and gratefulness.

Breathing Exercises to Get You Started

Sitting quietly, I’d like you to slowly take three deep breaths. When you feel a sense of calm, ask your heart what it wants you to know with the following questions:

  • What is your heart craving?
  • What aspects of your life need to change?
  • What connections need to be repaired?
  • Who do we seek for comfort?
  • Where do you feel safe and content?
  • Do the people in your life know what they mean to you?

Can we find gratitude for those we love, the connections we have and with the times that are so memorable we want to hold them in our mind’s eyes forever?

Maybe you will find a sense of gratitude under your holiday tree or near your menorah. Instead of only gifts this year, why not write letters to those we cherish expressing who they are in our lives and what they mean to us? At the end of the day, if we had nothing material to claim, we’d still have those who support us, guide us, nurture us and love us.

After I complete this blog, I will write one to my father thanking him for allowing me to bring him comfort and support at the loneliest time in his life.

When we stop listening to all the chatter in our own minds or from outside influences, only then can we actually feel the deep gratitude for the lives we have.

Photo of Behavioral Health Therapist Michelle Chachkes, dark hair and dark rimmbed glasses.Editor’s Note: Michelle Chachkes, LCSW, is a behavioral health therapist at our Navaho Drive Behavioral Health location in Wake County who specializes in child, adolescent and family therapy. During the past year of dealing with the pandemic and other national and global issues, she offers suggestions on how to be grateful during the upcoming holiday season.