Gratitude Practice for Healing Depression
Painful emotions, if you "practice" them over time, will weaken your will to attain higher states of consciousness. As negative emotions gain a foothold in your consciousness it is possible to spiral down into a dark hole of depression and stay there.
When you are stuck in a state of depression, feelings of gratitude can seem out of reach. So, gratitude for even the smallest things can help you to climb up out of depressed emotional states. When you notice the good things, the little pleasures, and the tiny blessings that are in your life right now, you can "climb" out of the hopelessness that feeds depression.
In each moment, there is always something to be grateful for, and there is always something to be upset about. It is your choice to tune into the level of life experience that you want to see. This does not mean that the circumstances of your life have to be going well. Even bad experiences hold something to be grateful for. Once you have learned the lessons in your life circumstances, you can even appreciate the experiences that feel difficult because you have grown into a stronger version of yourself.
Tuning in to the Radio Channel of Gratitude
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
~ Melody Beattie
If you experience a lot of emotional pain, a regular gratitude practice can support you to trust that goodness exists in the world. Gratitude is like a radio channel that you can choose to tune into at any time, no matter what is happening. But you have to practice the higher frequency of gratitude often - in order to stay tuned in.
The attitude of gratitude feeds into and sustains feelings of enthusiasm, love, and joy. And, because your brain is hardwired for protection and survival with a negativity bias, you will need to regularly practice gratitude in order to "rewrite" them in your nervous system.
The following practice is inspired by neuroscientist Dr. Rick Hanson and is designed to build more neural pathways of gratitude in your brain.
Have a good experience: Find one small thing - anything at all - to appreciate.
Enrich the experience: Amplify your appreciation into a feeling of deep and intense gratitude. Hold this experience for 10–20 seconds to install it in your long-term memory.
Absorb the experience: Extend this intense feeling of gratitude. Sense the warmth of gratitude sinking into you and absorbing into your body and mind.
Link the positive and negative feelings: Staying strong and steady with your gratitude practice, bring this "higher vibration" into your negative mind states to soothe and heal old pain.
Repeat this gratitude process as often as possible during the day.