I've been having a tough day. My son is three days into his second bout of flu this season, just a few days after his little sister finally got over the same flu. He kept me up most of the night, I'm tired, the house is a disaster and I now can't even see the bottom of my to-do list. It's days like this that I dig deep in my coping-mechanism toolbox and pull out the one thing that can consistently pull me out of the deepest of funks:
That's right. Being grateful.
But how can you be grateful when it seems like everything in your life is going wrong? Well, that's the beauty of gratitude. It can take the most negative of things and magically turn them around to be positive. For example, as difficult as it is to deal with a sick, cranky child I'm grateful that it's not something worse. I can be grateful that there hasn't been a trip to the hospital; I can be grateful that I'm not also sick at the same time. I can be grateful that he doesn't have something that requires chemotherapy. I'm grateful that he's alive.
When you can train yourself to look at life's problems and challenges in this way, it really reminds you of what's truly important, and even what seem like the biggest of mountains quickly shrinks to the molehill that it really is.
I don't do this as often as I should, but when I do spend a few minutes and really look around myself at what I can be grateful for, it always brightens my day, my mood, and my life. And I find that this quickly transfers to those around me.
Once you make a habit of noticing all of the little things there are to be grateful for, your entire life will change for the better. It's not an easy habit to create, and it will take daily practice, but the results that you see in your life will be well worth the effort spent.
The good news is that by cultivating a daily "attitude of gratitude" you will automatically start to feel better about yourself, your life, your circumstances, and even your relationship status. And once you start to feel better about all of these things, you will start to exude this happiness and radiate a level of confidence that you've never had before. A nice little side effect of all of this new found happiness and confidence is that you will start to attract love into your life from all sides, including the romantic side.
So take a few minutes every day, preferably in the morning but it doesn't really matter – whatever time works for you is fine – and think of three or four things that you are grateful for. Write them down if you can. You can keep it short and sweet, but there's something about the act of writing things down really makes them stick in your head. If you're not in a place where you can easily write, or if you don't have a pen and paper (or smartphone) handy, then just close your eyes and quietly think about them in your head.
If you're having trouble, here are a few to get you started:
- Your friends, your family, your support system (whoever that may be). We all have special people in our lives that are there for us when we need them, whether that be your parents, close friends, or just the people you eat lunch with at work.
- Your furry little friend that is so excited every time you walk in the door, no matter what kind of mood you're in.
- I know it sounds silly, but being grateful for the world around you – for flowers and birds and sunshine – can be amazingly uplifting and healing. Feel the sun (or rain, or snow) on your face and really experience it!
- Be grateful that your past relationships didn't work out (there's a reason you're not with him anymore, and it's because it wasn't right for you).
- Don't forget to be grateful for yourself – that you are so kindhearted, sensitive, and capable of such love. Think of all of the ways that you've "been there" for yourself, and have taken care of yourself and treated yourself well (and make a note to keep doing those things!).
Another good way to really feel the gratitude is to thank others for things they have done that you are grateful for. It doesn't have to be over the top (in fact, it's better if it's not) – just a simple "By the way, I wanted to thank you for what you said in the meeting the other day", or a quick note to say "I just wanted you to know that I really appreciated how you helped me through my tough day last week. It really meant a lot to me". It's very simple to do, and will do wonders both for the person you are thanking and for your own happiness for the day.
Try this for a week and let me know if it's made any differences in your life, either in how you feel, or in your relationships with others, or both. Send me an email or tell us all about it in the comments.
By the way, I want to let you know that I really appreciate the time you've taken to visit my site and read my post today. Thank you.
I'm very grateful that you're here.