Grant Anderson, M.A. LMHC – Clinical Supervisor & Licensed Therapist
Hi, my name is Grant Anderson with Crosswinds Counseling. Today I am going to talk to you a little bit about gratitudes and what they are.
A definition: Gratitude is a way of looking at your blessings. Things we have in our lives that we can be grateful for.
In the counseling world, we use them in a couple of different ways. The first way is [a person] just journaling out their gratitudes. We have people write out what’s going on in their lives that they can be grateful for. What’s going on that they are happy with. It’s focusing on those good things happening.
Another more involved way would be finding an impactful person. Someone that has meant a lot to you in your life and writing them a letter of gratitude, of thankfulness, and actually delivering it to that person. What that does, one, it actually blesses that person getting that letter of thankfulness, but it also gives you that connectedness that’s going to be impactful for you.
The final way is a gratitude walk. Going and getting outside and just using your five senses to really connect yourself to the world around you. Using the leaves changing, the weather, the wind blowing, and realizing what you have to be thankful for. It is really taking in that present moment and just focusing on the blessings and the good things going on.
This is different than what we are seeing in a growing trend right now in our society, and that’s toxic positivity. With toxic positivity, people have an emotional feeling and someone [else] comes along and tells them, ‘You shouldn’t feel that. You should focus on the good things. You shouldn’t have that emotion. You should look at your blessings.’ The problem with that is it doesn’t let the person truly feel what they’re going through. It kind of shuts them down from that, telling them they can’t process [what they’re feeling]. That’s different from gratitudes because gratitude really focuses on the internal. What are we thankful for? What are we feeling blessed by? It’s different than someone coming alongside us and telling us ‘ You should just be thankful,’ which tends to have the counter effect of what we’re trying to get.
In summary, gratitudes is really that focusing on the positive blessings going in our lives. Whereas toxic positivity is kind of shutting someone’s feelings down and telling them they should be more positive. We really want to focus more on gratefulness and gratitude.