Nothing keeps you feeling positive more than being grateful. Gratitude is the secret spice that makes every day feel great.
But sometimes, it’s the other way around: When you are sick and feel like everything has gone wrong, how do you find gratitude?
The greatest challenge most people have when things go wrong is getting stuck in a rut of negativity. When things are looking really bleak, here are some things you can do to get out of the trap.
There is Always Something to be Grateful For
This is the most important thing to remember. Even in the deepest depths of despair, there is always a silver lining. Always! There is no exception. No matter how bad it feels right now, there is something good in your life. There is always something good to come out of any situation.
The key to getting through the hard days is to remember that they will pass. And even we persist through those dark times, to look out for the good things in your life each moment.
At its most basic, there is one truth: you are alive.
Every day that you are alive, there is always a chance that something good will come your way.
Start with the Small Things
One useful technique people use is maintaining a gratitude journal.
If things are really not going well, it can be a challenge to find a good thing to be happy about. But that’s only true if you are looking at the big things, like getting a job promotion, starting a successful business, getting a shiny new gadget or appliance, moving into a wonderful new home, or winning the lottery.
Sometimes our small victories are just as impactful as the bigger ones. When we look past the big things, we’ll find that there are countless little things to be thankful for. Whether it’s having a delicious breakfast, to having been able to sleep properly that night, having a warm shower, or even just seeing your children’s face, there is something good happening in your day and it is something to be thankful for.
One useful technique people use is maintaining a gratitude journal. Write one thing to be thankful every day before you sleep. It helps keep you in the habit of looking for the good things in life, and to celebrating small blessings and victories, not just the big things.
It’s Not a Competition
It’s easy to lose sight of our own lives and start comparing ourselves to other people. While a little benchmarking isn’t bad now and then, ultimately, this is a mindset destined for misery. There will always be people around who are enjoying something more than you currently are.
Remember that life is not a race.
When you make a habit of comparing yourself to others, life starts to become a competition, and you can’t win unless you’re always better than everyone else. When that happens, the tendency is to only be thankful when you “win.” And that makes it a lot harder to feel gratitude.
Remember that life is not a race, it’s not a competition, and it’s okay to go at your own pace and with your own standards. Beating yourself up over what your friends, neighbors and other people have and you don’t, may only make things harder.
Seek out the people who see your strength.
Chart your own successes, and celebrate all of your wins (even the small ones!). You deserve it!
Challenge Your Notions of Happiness
Finding happiness is the best way to feel gratitude.
And that brings us to the final point: what exactly does it mean to be happy? A lot of people look at what society values, and believes that if they can achieve what society considers as good, they can be happy. Money, health, good relationships, a family and kids, a home in the suburbs with a white picket fence and a dog, these are concepts of happiness that society holds dear. But is that what makes you happy? What feels achievable to you in this moment? Where can you find happiness or strength, even when things are hard?
The thing about happiness, is that it’s different from person to person. Only you can tell what makes you happy. Different things make different people happy. Finding happiness is the best way to feel gratitude. If you break away from the societal concepts of happiness to find your own happiness, you’ll find that it’s much, much easier to be happy and grateful for the blessings in life.
Just remember, when you’re feeling down, there is always something to be grateful for. Remember what makes you happy, and remember to see even the small things, and you’ll see the bigger picture. That’s when the gratitude will flow freely from within you.
Want to share with us what you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving? Join us in our Friends in the Fight Group.