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12.01.22 | Community & Lifestyle

The Importance of Normalizing Grief

Pain and grief are a natural part of our lives and aren’t just things we see or feel at the end of life. In reality, these feelings surround us daily whether we know it or not, and while they’re typically associated with sadness, they don’t always have to be. And while grief is often seen as taboo, it’s important to alter the conversation around the subject to create a safe and supportive community for all.

It’s critical to know that there is no perfect answer to everything with grief; everyone has to find what works best for them, and this may look different depending on the person. So, try to be patient with yourself, and take every day one step at a time. 

One of the best ways to normalize the process of grieving is simply by acknowledging what you’re going through. Let yourself feel everything, and allow yourself space to feel comfortable sharing those feelings, even if that means you need a break here or there. Ensure that you also have a way to do something with your feelings, which can be anything from talking to friends or family to writing or painting. 

While looking for support from others can sometimes feel selfish, it’s not. Lean on as many people as possible and remember to look for the good in the situation. By being vulnerable, you allow the opportunity to build trust, relationships and support.  

Grief is something we all experience. It’s not something we can hide from, so why not face it head-on and create a safe and supportive experience not only for yourself, but for the world? 

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12.28.20 | Community & Lifestyle

The Importance of Practicing Gratitude

Gratitude is both a way of thinking and a way of doing. By definition, it’s the quality of being thankful, as well as the readiness and willingness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. And by practicing gratitude, we open ourselves up to being more connected, more happy and more healthy.

Finding the Good

According to American psychologist Robert Emmons, there are two parts to gratitude. Firstly, it’s “an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received,” he says. While this doesn’t overwrite challenges or frustrations in our lives, it allows us to look at our lives wholly and to always find balance and goodness. Finding good in the world helps us to feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity and even improve mental and physical health.

Becoming More Connected

Secondly, says Emmons, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…. We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” In this way, Emmons describes gratitude as a “relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.” Therefore, practicing gratitude allows us to feel more connected with our surroundings, whether that be nature, our spirituality or the people in our lives. This in turn leads to stronger, more positive relationships.

Practicing Gratitude

So how do we cultivate and strengthen our practice of gratitude?

First, we must notice our surroundings. What or who makes you feel good? This reflection can happen in-the-moment throughout your daily experiences, or later when you have a private moment to yourself for meditation. Many experts recommend keeping a gratitude journal and regularly listing things you’re grateful for.

Savor and absorb the things for which you’re grateful. Once you acknowledge the good things in your life, make sure you enjoy those experiences to the fullest and treat them with the utmost appreciation.

And finally, express your gratitude. Happiness is best when shared — and everyone likes to feel appreciated. Take the time to write a thank you note or voice your gratitude verbally. 

We all experience gratitude, but taking the time to acknowledge the feeling and become more intentional with how we engage with it and share with others will make all the difference in the world. 

White and green text over a dark green background, with quotation marks and the Sage Collective logo. Text reads: Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world.
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