Gratitude is a cozy, thankful and fulfilling feeling. A person who is grateful does not constantly try to seek for more, but rather, they appreciate what they already have- tangibly or intangibly. While practicing gratitude has so many powerful benefits for your life, like improving self-esteem, enhancing empathy, and even helping you sleep better, it is not always easy to cultivate when it feels like stuff is hitting the fan.
Sure- practicing gratitude can be simple when you are:
- appreciating the sun shining in a clear blue sky
- cruising down the highway with the wind blowing in your hair, or
- reading this blog while you sip a hot cup of tea or coffee.
But could you find that same joy if perhaps you got a sunburn from staying outside a bit too long admiring that blue sky? Could you find happiness in that same car if there was 2 hours worth of bumper to bumper traffic that would make you late for your meeting? Would you still be grateful for that hot drink if upon taking your first sip you melted the tip of your tongue to the point you believed-for a split second- that you’d never be able to taste anything again?
Challenge the Challenges:
What if in challenging moments like these, your new, favorite, four letter F word became find? What if in the moments where you want to scream, or cry, or cuss- that you swear to yourself that you will search for the deeper meaning waiting to be uncovered? If gratitude is about being appreciative for what you already have without needing to seek more- and all you have is a crappy situation- could you still find the metaphorical rose that eventually emerges out of a heaping pile of poo?
Because what if that sunburn had a message for you? Possibly about balance and that too much of anything could be harmful? Would you be grateful that you learned to set a timer for next time, or wear extra sunblock, or to take breaks by going inside? Or what if that traffic jam just saved your life from the accident up the road? Could you find gratitude knowing that you got to listen to another song on the radio that you love while sitting in your car, or that, oh yea, you’re still alive? Or what if your stinging tongue from that hot coffee or tea reminds you to be patient when situations get heated, not to rush into something too soon, or to be mindful to check the temperature of a room, or person, or your own emotions?
So how do you actually find gratitude when things seem tough? Most importantly, you simply must want to find it. Intention is everything. Then, below are a few more suggestions:
- Focus more on the lessons you can learn rather than the disappointment, lack, and/or fear. When you think of life as your teacher, every situation becomes a learning opportunity that is happening for you and not to you
- Give yourself a pep talk, be your own biggest cheerleader. Try reciting a few quotes with the sentiment that after something challenging happens, there will be relief. For example, remind yourself that , “After the rain, comes the rainbow,” or that “The Setback is for the Set up” or “ In the end it’s okay, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” This helps instill hope and gives you permission to go through all the feels, not just the ones that feel good
- Be the change you wish to see. If it is hard for you to find the silver lining in a particularly difficult situation at that moment, do something kind for someone else instead. This will shift your energy into a more positive state when you realize you can be grateful that you made someone grateful!
Cuss to Custom:
So the next time you might want to cuss out a negative situation, seemingly devoid of any reason to be thankful for it, try creating a new custom of finding the peace within chaos. Instead of exploding or using expletives, set an example to yourself by changing the course of your thoughts and directing them to the positive experience that can still be extracted. This doesn’t mean you need to censor your true feelings. It’s ok to lose it as long as you still try to find the slivers of gratitude in the process!
The point is, the next time you want to say “F gratitude,” will you actively choose to find it instead? If so, we swear this will change your life for the better!
What practices do you swear by? What other ways do you recommend for finding gratitude? Let us know in the comments below.