Thankfulness can be a great antidote to the anxiety that results from PTSD. This is because while anxiety is the fear of loss thankfulness is a response to the realization of gain. With this in mind, here are some ways of bringing gratitude into your life.
Write Letters of Thanks
Even a very brief letter written to someone expressing our gratitude can do wonders for your mood. As you can well imagine, these would be especially welcomed by certain people in your life. These letters will be well received too, as you might imagine.
Count Your Blessings
Stop for a moment and consider your life in comparison to others who have certain challenges that haven't been bestowed upon you. While you may have PTSD, things could always be worse.
This may take some real effort on your behalf but it'll be worth it. Look at the uncertainties in your life and the possibly positive outcomes that you haven't yet considered. Just having these possibilities is something for which you should be thankful.
Perform Random Acts of Kindness
You can do this for people, animals, or plants. It doesn't matter! What matters is that you're giving your time and attention as an act of appreciation. When you do this for a person or an animal, more than likely you'll receive a positive reaction which is something else you can be thankful for.
Meditate on Positive Feelings Towards Others
This is something that many cultures teach: Think about the people in your life whom you appreciate. Spend a few minutes thinking about the person. Do this for as many people as come to mind.
Use Your Signature Strengths
This isn't only a great way to cultivate thankfulness but also a wonderful way to build up your self-esteem at the same time: Take a few minutes to think about those things at which you're at least fairly competent. Now pause to consider what your life would be like if you didn't have these competencies.
These are some great starting points for us to start cultivating an attitude of gratitude. You can find other ways of doing so too. Now herein lies the challenge: pick one of these interventions and spend 5 - 20 minutes working with it each day. Make a note in your journal on what you did, what you thought, and how you felt. Later in the day return to your journal, review your notes and see how your day is going.
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