As offered by people with lived experience


My son has a severe disability, my mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and my cousin passed away. How am I supposed to feel grateful?

If this is a scenario that sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.

Many of us are dealing with not one, but multiple challenges at the same time. Trying to cope with our emotions while making an attempt to carrying on with our daily routine, can become overwhelming, to say the least. Being grateful is not usually top of mind.

As our neighbours in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we think about feeling thankful. We take time to appreciate what we have in our lives – family, friends, health, food, clothing, shelter, jobs, recreation and some of the other things that we enjoy.

However, if we are living through a difficult situation, taking a pause can actually give us more stress. Many people whom I have spoken to have said that the quietness the lack of routine during a holiday makes them feel lonely or they tend to compare their situation to others who don’t appear to have any challenges to deal with.

I am currently doing an 8-week coaching program with some parents that have children diagnosed with Autism. In light of the Holiday season, I asked them to ponder this question,

“How does being grateful impact your life?”

Here is what they said:

  1. It changes your perspective. When you are grateful, it automatically shifts your mindset. You look at things differently. You switch from feelings of being frustrated, letdown or disappointed to feeling happiness, fulfillment and joy. You are more positive and you feel more confident and secure.
  2. It helps me to look at what is good in my life. Instead of thinking about what is wrong, you focus on what is working. You look at the strengths, rather than the weakness. For example, “My child can’t walk but he can light up a room with his smile,” or “I have a partner who loves me, and I am thankful for that” or “I am healthy and I am grateful.”
  3. Helps you to cope with everything. You have an overall feeling of peace and contentment and it helps you to handle things better.
  4. You feel happy and euphoric. When you are grateful, you feel more joy and you are able to celebrate what you have. Even if someone is gravely ill or passes away, you can feel thankful for having some great memories to cherish.
  5. Abundance – If you practice gratitude, you have comfort and peacefulness. You see your life as being full as opposed to what is missing. Abundance means fortune and wealth. When you live through a challenge, your life is full of people and you feel fortunate to have them around. You are continually learning and experiencing personal growth.

Indeed, it may not be easy to feel thankful when you are dealing with some difficult situations. However, approaching life with gratitude, can help you recognize what you have, to feel happy and to cope with a more positive and peaceful outlook.

Take some time to write down all that you are grateful for and see where it takes you. I wish for abundance and peace for all of you.

~ Lisa

This article is dedicated to the moms who have trusted me enough to share a piece of their life with me. Thank you!