Lessons in self love: Practicing gratitude


Love, it’s sort of a big deal, isn’t it? Whether that be romantic love or the love we have for our friends and family. Even a love for life. But one kind of love that often gets neglected is self-love. Perhaps because it’s not seen as important as other kinds of love or we somehow get the wrong idea and think it’s arrogant. However, we need to learn to love ourselves and learn that, that isn’t a bad thing.

One thing I realised lately was not only how depression and anxiety were making me feel in stripping away self-love but also how they had stripped away at some of the practices I use or more correctly used to use, to help me appreciate life and as a consequence help me to feel happier. For example, I used to really enjoy scrapbooking. I know just call me Princess Poppy. But whilst at times that was physically impossible at the start of the year, there have also been times where I thought that documenting my “better times” might symbolise things that I’ve managed to achieve (which is why I started scrapbooking in the first place) where as the truth is behind a lot of those occasions I was struggling mentally. So documenting them as these happy times seems somewhat false.

However, I realise that practices like this can also help you to quell depression somewhat and help you change your focus. Even though my mental health is improving I know there is much that I can still do to help support it. And so recently I’ve been thinking that I need to find ways to help with self-love, keep my mental health in check and keep up with the good progress that I’ve been making. And I’ve decided to try and document them as I go in a sort of blog mini-series, which others might also find useful.

To start off with I’ve kept things quite simple by making a list of the things that I’m grateful for/ reasons to be grateful. Call it what you wish. Yes, literally searching for the silver linings in each day.

There are a few ways you can do this, whether you choose to make a master list of things that you’re grateful for or whether you choose to do it more as a diary entry style where you make a list of things you’re grateful for each day. But be sure to actually write them down because that way it forces you to really focus and literally see everything in black and white. Use whichever you feel will benefit you most. Heck, do both if you want. Whether they be big things like leaving the house or small things like drinking a hot chocolate. There are no right or wrong answers as it’s all subjective to you personally.

I know, a lot of people that use this method list 3 things each day but why stop at 3 if it’s a day full of things that you are grateful for. In contrast, some days you might struggle to write 3 things and these are the days where you will really need to search to find those silver linings, but ironically these are the days when this exercise really helps most because it helps you to see and appreciate all that you do have rather than all that you feel you’re missing. And like I said they don’t have to be big things just anything that you have been grateful for or put a smile on your face during that day.

So, go on what are 3 things that you are grateful for today? Write them down or post them in the comments should you wish to. Here are 3 things I’m grateful for today:

  1. Seeing photos of one of my dearest friends wedding
  2. Strictly Come Dancing
  3. Epsom salt baths

Really making an effort to practice gratitude in such a way will help you get into the habit of appreciating life and help improve your general mental health. Until you just do it instinctively and it becomes second nature.

Give it a go. And I’ll see you soon for the next instalment.


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