You may have seen the hashtag go by in your timeline but if you’ve never looked closer, #DailyGratitude is an online movement to try and see the good in everyday things. According to a Yale University article Gratitude Practice is a conscious decision like meditating or yoga where a person learns to pause, observe and express things that they are grateful for each and every day. This can mean a large thing like a promotion or a small pleasure such as “the barista gave me a free cookie for no reason today.”
When you have a chronic illness it can be hard to see the good in things. For some of us, bad things are very bad and there are a lot of them. But Daily Gratitude doesn’t seek to cover those bad feelings. It seeks to find the good that exists alongside them. It’s a sort of strength training for your brain. In a study cited by Sirois & Wood, researchers found that gratitude predicted lower depression in chronic illness populations. The study’s authors define gratitude as “a life orientation towards noticing the positive in life, including both thankfulness to others and a wider sense of appreciation for what one has.” So, in essence, when we make a conscious choice to look for the good over time it can change how we see the world at first glance. Those bad things will still be there, but they’ll be balanced out with what we value and appreciate in our lives over the short and long term.
Daily gratitude doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a practice. Start small, and use the hashtag as a record of progress on your social media. Hearing encouraging words from your friends or seeing other people taking part will help validate you and make you want to keep searching for the good. With enough practice soon it won’t be such a hard search. Seeing the good in things will come more naturally and keep you strong on those days where you really need it.