If you’re struggling in life it could be difficult for you to find reasons to be grateful. It’s easy to focus on all the things that aren’t going so well, the limitations you have, the difficulties you face. You may be having financial problems, going through a divorce, or you may even have suffered a disability or loss of a loved one.
As challenging as it may be, it is during these times of distress that it’s most important for you to feel grateful for all that you have in your life.
I recommend starting a gratitude journal. You can use a tiny notebook that you keep in your pocket, an app on your phone, or a leather bound book; choose whatever you will feel excited to use. I keep a journal and a pen by my bed, but I also jot down little things on my phone all day long. If you’re into social media you can use that to record what you are grateful for. Every day I post at least 1 thing to Twitter for which I am thankful.
You can write down a bulleted list of all you are grateful for, or you can write in detail about one thing you are most grateful for. You can write in the morning, in the evening, or jot down ideas over the course of the day. The purpose really is to get yourself into the habit of finding things for which you can feel grateful.
Let’s set some ground rules!
1. Be honest. This is incredibly important. This doesn’t work if you’re just going through the motions and don’t actually feel grateful. If you got into a fight with your best friend today, then today isn’t the day you’re going to be grateful for her. If your dog destroyed your favorite pair of shoes, then you can be thankful for your K9 friend a different day. Keep thinking and find something that you are truly thankful for today.
2. Look for every little thing. The things you are grateful for don’t have to be big things. They can be itty bitty little tiny things, as long as you are truly thankful for them. Did you enjoy your morning cup of coffee? Did your kids sleep in an extra 10 minutes? Did you make the green light on the way to the office? Being grateful for little things will help form this habit just as well as the big things.
3. Be very specific. For example, you might not feel that “I am grateful for my husband” resonates with you if you just got into a huge fight. Instead try, “I am grateful that my husband did the dishes after dinner.” Or, if your children have been bickering all day and you’re at your whit’s end you might not feel that “I am grateful for my children” is entirely true. Instead try, “I am grateful it’s almost bedtime.” If you’re frustrated with your job you might not feel that “I am grateful for my career” is sincere. Instead try, “I am grateful for the person who made coffee at the office this morning.
4. Be consistent. In the beginning it will be extremely valuable to do this every single day. I know you’re busy but cultivating a feeling of gratitude will be life changing. Once you develop the habit you will be happier; you will feel less stressed; you will feel rejuvenated. Do whatever you have to do to make sure you do this every day. Put a reminder on your phone. Get your kids, husband, friends, or coworkers to remind you. Each morning put your journal on your pillow to remind yourself to write in it. Post to whatever social media you use every day. Do whatever it takes to be consistent and you will see results.
Have you started a gratitude journal? If so, let me know what you think!