Being grateful when things suck
With Thanksgiving here, it’s a good time to talk about gratitude. It’s easy to be grateful when life is going your way. But what happens when it seems like everything is going to shit, life is throwing everything it has at you, and you don’t know which way is up? Getting through the day seems like a hard-enough challenge, how the hell can you be grateful for anything when it’s all bad?
Here’s a fact: when you can find something to be grateful for it gives you some relief in what is going on with and around you. Finding the good in things gives you a break from whatever is weighing you down (Yes, I know this is a very Pollyanna line yet it is true.) Gratitude is an attitude, a way of living that has proven to have many benefits to your health. It can give you more patience, improved relationships and even sleep. It can increase your happiness and satisfaction in life. It goes hand in hand with mindfulness and focuses on what we have vs. what we don’t. It curbs the continuous need to have more and more.
Gratitude helped me navigate through the shitty days
As I have shared with you, the last year was pretty shitty yet one of the ways I got through it was to find gratitude even in the darkest days. Some days it I was grateful for waking up, some days (more than I care to admit) it was the fact I made it through the day. It wasn’t always easy, but I made an effort to find the moments.
Here is the deal: Gratitude can shift how you feel. It has an impact on you as you embrace it. It is not always easy yet if you can find the grateful spot in hard situations, it actually improves your mood. For example, I recently have been having some spirited moments with my ex-to-be (a nice way to say we are fighting) and I admit that I am pissed off, really pissed off, yet I find myself being mad but thankful as well. If I focus on the grateful part, it shifts the way I feel. Yes, I am still pissed off but not nearly as much as I was.
Gratitude makes me a better mom
As a mom, I use this all the time. When I get frustrated with the boys – remember I refer to them as Wild and Wilder – I work really hard not to pass on my frustrations to them. When I am going there, I will stop – take a deep breathe and think of the ways I am grateful for them. The other night Wild put a heart under my dinner plate. This way I focus on the good vs. the bad, and it makes me a better mom. I also try to pass this onto the boys.
Gratitude in the darkest times
Even when you are grieving gratitude can be found. We all hear the phrase “life is too short,” and we know that it is true. When we are heartbroken finding the right things to focus on will ease some of the pain. It is not a magic fix yet a small relief.
Gratitude takes practice if you are not used to it. Here are some ways you can start putting it into your life:
- Think of someone who has helped you in your life. Think about how they have made an impact and then take it one step further – call, email or send them a card. It will make you both feel awesome.
- Say thank you to those who support you in your life. I love to send cards, this way I feel good doing it and those receiving them love it.
- Give back. Sharing with those who are less fortunate has a positive effect on everyone involved.
- Make a choice: choose to be grateful.
- Every day write down three things you are grateful for. This may be tough in the beginning yet it gets easier. (Yes, I know you may be rolling your eyes at this one, just try it)
Gratitude is not a magic fix to all the shitty things yet if you can find the bits of amazing along the way it makes life more bearable. It won’t fix things but will help you make it through those really tough times.
If you are going through tough times, remember you are not alone, and you can always reach out to me.