The benefits of gratitude

 If you are going through something difficult, you may look at the title of this blog and think “what is there for me to be grateful for?” When it comes to disability, you may have a mental or a physical disability. It may be short term or ongoing. However, whatever your circumstances, it won't be harmed and will likely be helped by practising gratitude. Gratitude feels good, and can help ease a bad situation and make a good one that little bit better. 

I can give you an example from my own life. On my dressing table I have a particular body spray that takes me back to one of my hospital stays following my breakdown. Why would I want to be reminded of this? It's not that time in mental hospital I want to remember. It was an awful time of my life. But I like to use this body spray to remind me of an act of kindness demonstrated by one of the nurses who went above and beyond her duty. 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This particular hospital admission happened quite quickly after a rapid deterioration in my mental health that led to me being sectioned, not for the first time. The speed of my admission was such that I went into hospital with little more than the clothes on my back. One particularly kind nurse noticed this and bought me some toiletries with her own money. One of these toiletries was a tropical scented body spray. Even in my distressed state I noticed she hadn't just bought me necessary or basic products, but something that felt like a little bit of luxury in such a bleak situation. 

Although the memory is bittersweet - the grimness of mental hospital mixed with the kindness of a nurse - I like to keep using this same body spray that the nurse bought me, restocking it each time I run out. Why? Because I'm grateful. I'm grateful for my current state of wellness. I'm grateful for having gotten through a rotten period of my life. And I'm grateful to special individuals like that nurse, who made my journey that bit more bearable.

Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

As I write this I have a coffee in front of me. I am in my flat with a roof over my head. The winter sun is streaming through my sitting room window, so warm that my windows are ajar and I'm enjoying a bit of breeze. Life on this earth will never be perfect. I still have my worries. But every day offers such small (or big) things like this to be grateful for. I'm not suggesting cultivating an attitude of gratitude because it's what we “should” do. In my experience feeling grateful makes a difficult situation a little bit easier, and can make a good situation beautiful. 

You may want to reflect on what you are grateful for?

Who has shown you kindness in the past?

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Bryony Bennett 

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