Life over the last few months has made it hard to feel grateful or maintain an attitude of gratitude. It has been a treadmill of heartbreaking illness, family struggle, the challenges of having both a young child and an aging parent. It’s been red eye flights and tough conversations and too much paperwork.
And, yet, through it all, I’ve tried my very, very best to practice “dazzle catching” – to find the tiny things that make life easier or a little more joyful – the soft pillow under my head, a deep breath, the birds outside my window, an uninterrupted hot shower, a deep blue sky, first sip of coffee, a stretch, a quite drive home after the morning rush of dropping my son off at school.
You’ve no doubt heard about the importance of gratitude when it comes to living a well-balanced, mentally healthy life. Gratitude puts you into a high-vibration state that is good for your body, mind and soul. That state of being also helps you manifest the life you wish to live.
On good days, you probably have no problem being thankful for your blessings. But what about the days when everything seems to be going wrong?
How do you muster up the energy to thank the Universe when times have been tough and seem to be getting tougher? This article will tell you how to do just that.
What Is An Attitude of Gratitude?
Before we explore how to better your mental health by harnessing the power of gratitude, let’s talk about what gratitude is.
Gratitude is a knowing deep in your core that you are fortunate, no matter what is going on around you. No matter how hard your days or nights and how many challenges you face, you know that you are truly, truly blessed.
When you have assimilated this knowing that you are blessed and always taken care of by Spirit/the Universe, then as you look around, your many blessings begin to shine at you, even with a pulsating light, such as a neon sign.
You see, having an attitude of gratitude is merely a perspective shift. I say merely, yet it is not the easiest of shifts to make—initially.
Once you get into the habit of seeing the proverbial glass half-full, you’ll easily and quickly slip into gratitude throughout your days.
How to Easily Live In An Attitude of Gratitude
So how to make an attitude of gratitude your default? This may seem like a mountain that you must climb, but it’s actually not all that difficult. As mentioned, it requires a perspective shift.
While it might seem that the answer is to make the perspective shift swiftly, doing so is often not advisable or feasible. Instead of springing from, “life sucks,” to, “oh, joy, life is wonderful,” try this progressive technique instead:
- What in my surroundings do I like right now that I can thank the Universe for? What can I grasp onto with gratitude, even if it’s just my favorite cup of morning coffee? Is the sun out and pouring through a nearby window? Are the birds chirping a happy song?
- How do I feel when I say thank you for something I enjoy? Notice the spark of hope that ignites, if only for a moment when you do this.
- What else in my daily life can I be thankful for? Family members, friends and meaningful projects? Say a second thank you for whatever you can find. You will notice that with each thank you that you begin to feel better—more content.
- Make this process a part of your daily routine. As you do so, you will find that you look forward to those sparks of hope and contentment that come from the process. On those days when you don’t dole out thanks, you will notice you don’t feel as good. You know you want to feel good, though, and you know that thanks will get you there.
- The more you look for the little and big things and people and circumstances to thank the Universe for, the more “addicted” you become to that feel-good focus. Continue this way of being, and one day as if by magic, gratitude becomes your default.
How to Express Gratitude for the Not-So-Good
Fine, you say, I’ve managed to have an attitude of gratitude on good and neutral days, but I’m still struggling mightily with this idea on crummy days. Please help!
In order to master the art of having an attitude of gratitude no matter what, it takes another perspective shift. This time it means looking at the challenges that come your way and regarding them as priceless gifts.
You heard that right! I’m suggesting that you thank the Universe for the challenges in your life. That means thanking the Universe for the crummy days, the seemingly lost opportunities and the just not good things that happen.
But this seems counterintuitive and downright dumb, you might say!
I beg to differ. Let me explain.
Those people and circumstances that challenge us give us the most to be thankful for. Let me give you an example: Say you have always wanted to be in a certain position at the company where you work. Then one day, you are transferred and are now working under the person who has your dream job. But soon you discover that your dream job is actually a nightmare. And your days working for the person in your dream job are taxing and definitely not fun.
While you could bemoan the fact that your dream job isn’t what you thought and now you’re stuck working in a bad situation, you could do a perspective shift and acknowledge that this circumstance has given you a bird’s-eye view of a position that you could have spent substantial time and effort working towards attaining only to find that it is not a fit!
Every challenge, every seeming “misstep,” every bad day is an opportunity to learn what you don’t want, and in contrast, what you do want. With this in mind, you can readily thank the Universe for yet another well-planned, well-timed lesson.
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