power of gratitudeCultivating the Power of Gratitude Can Be a Transformative Experience

November is a month of thanksgiving and ushers in the holiday season. On social media sites it is common to see people posting things they are thankful for on each day of the month. Sometimes when we are struggling it can be hard to feel grateful. Life might feel like a tunnel that prevents us from seeing the things and people around us that make up the foundation of our lives. Eating disorders can be very isolating and make it difficult to experience gratitude for support systems and life’s blessings. There are ways to get in the habit of being grateful. Read on for some tips to make this November full of joy and gratitude.

What Do You Have to be Thankful For?

In the midst of suffering we can find our strength in gratitude. Often this can be what pulls us out of a rut or brings us peace in the storm. It’s easier than you may think to keep track of things you are grateful for…

  • Keep a Happy Jar: Find a pretty jar and place it in an accessible location. Each day, write one thing you are grateful for and put it in the jar. When you are feeling really down, you can look at all the little bits of gratitude you’ve collected and maybe get a second wind!
  • Gratitude journals: Even if writing isn’t your thing, keeping a gratitude journal is easy and comforting. I recommend finding a small notepad you can carry in your purse or backpack. When a grateful thought hits you can jot it in your little notepad. Much like the Happy Jar, you can look back through this journal on tough days and find some hope.
  • Collage journals: If words escape you, fill a journal with beautiful photos you’ve found in magazines. Stick to travel magazines or publications that focus on nature, animals, or special interests. You can use a glue stick to secure the pictures and create a journal alive with personal meaning. Something to be grateful for in itself!

Recovery Brings its Own Joys!

The National Eating Disorders Association published a terrific post about recovery and some of the happiest things it brings. Among them:

  • More energy
  • The ability to enjoy food
  • Freedom

There is nothing quite like the freedom of recovery. To know that you can go to dinner with friends and order what you WANT, not what your eating disorder tell you to order. To walk through your days feeling clear-headed and alive. Eating disorders take so much energy to maintain. Often in recovery we look back and wonder how we ever sustained that life.

As we engage recovery and regain strength, gratitude starts to grow. Even if at one time we felt there was nothing to be grateful for, the little joys of recovery often can help us to see the wonderful gift of a body that works, energy that fuels our activities, and the blessing of being alive. Challenge yourself this season to record just one thing you’re grateful for each day. By the end of the year your gratitude bank will have grown exponentially.