Anna discovers the silver lining using gratitude

Hardship needs no introduction. It’s all around us and mentioned daily on every news outlet and social media platform.

This series of articles is not about hardship. It’s about you.

Our newsletter Weathering the Storm is a source of curated tips and strategies to help you weather the emotional storm. This newsletter is inspired by actual clients* and written by experienced psychologists.

*All client names are fictional and presenting issues are composites of client experiences.


Meet Anna*

In the past month she was forced to miss her little sister’s graduation and her dad’s surprise 60th birthday party because she couldn’t afford to make the trip. She’s upset and sad about not being with her loved ones for these momentous events.

She’s been having a hard time feeling grateful lately…and understandably so. During times of emotional hardship it’s natural to focus on what we’re missing, what’s unpleasant and what’s going badly.

But lest we forget, the glass can be half empty and half full ; the half we choose to focus on will have a profound effect on our mood and wellbeing.

So what if we told Anna one exercise – requiring no dumbbells or yoga mat – can help shift her attention to the half full mindset ?

Our recommandations

Enter the Gratefulness Exercise.

Here’s how it works : Once a day, think about or write down three things you’re grateful for. The concept, although simple in theory, yields powerful results.

Following these 3 simple guidelines will help provide optimal results when practicing the gratefulness exercise :

1. Choose something simple

No need to find life-changing things to be grateful about. It can be as simple as:

    • Having a roof over your head
    • Nice weather
    • Streaming a great show

2. Choose something new

Try to pick something different every day. If you mention the same three things everyday, the exercise doesn’t really engage your “gratitude muscles”. The purpose of the exercise is to make the effort to find things you’re grateful for even on the worst of days.

3. Choose something you experienced

Don’t mention what “did not happen” Thinking “I’m grateful I didn’t have an accident”, for example, simply reinforces negative thoughts. Instead, strive to identify things you experienced you’re grateful for.

Choosing to start (or re-start) practicing gratefulness will help the silver lining shine through… even on the cloudiest days.


About us

PsyMontreal is a network of licensed psychologists, psychotherapists and therapists offering psychotherapy services in-person, by phone and via videoconferencing.

To schedule an appointment, contact us at 514-337-2473 ext. 0. We’re available 24/7 to answer your calls.