It’s easy to feel grateful when things are going your way. But what happens when times get tough?
Unfortunately, it’s harder to be thankful for the things we do have when it feels like life is crumbling all around us.
Being more grateful and appreciative when life isn’t going your way can actually make you a more thankful person, in general. It can also help you to see that things might not be as bad as they appear on the surface.
It might sound crazy to be grateful for the hard moments in your life. But showing gratitude during those moments will make you a stronger person and may even lead you down a better path.
So, how can you practice gratitude, even when times are hard?
Look for the Lesson
Everyone’s life goes through different cycles. Sometimes things are good; sometimes they aren’t. No one wants to deal with hardships, but how you look at those struggles will make a difference in how grateful you actually are.
Instead of focusing on how hard a situation might be, look for the lesson in it.
How is it helping you to grow as a person? How is it making you stronger? What can you take away from the hard experience that will make it easier if it happens again?
Ultimately, going through difficult times allows you to be better prepared in life. You might even be able to use the knowledge you gained through your own tough times to help someone else. So, you can be grateful for the lessons you learn during times of trouble.
Focus on the Small Victories
When life is knocking you down, finding the smallest thing to feel successful about can make a big difference. Even the things that seem normal and familiar to you can end up being the things you’re most grateful for.
Do you feel like you have nothing and that life is miserable? Think about your best friend or your family. Think about the roof over your head or the delicious meal you’ve made for yourself. Are these things part of your ordinary routine? Probably. But the smallest things often have the biggest impact on how we feel.
It’s easy for life to feel overwhelming sometimes. Reeling your thoughts back in and focusing on the small areas of happiness in your life can really put things into perspective.
Do Something You’re Good At
If you feel like your life is falling apart, do something you know you’re good at. It could be something as simple as baking a pan of brownies, painting a picture, or going on a long run and beating your best time.
When life gets hard, it’s easy to feel like everything is closing in around you. Reminding yourself that you can continue to push forward and get through the dark times is a great way to make those difficulties seem less daunting. When you do something you’re good at and enjoy, you’ll also be able to feel grateful for your natural talents.
Help Other People
It might be difficult to think about helping someone else when you’re feeling low, but forcing yourself to do something good for other people can actually make you feel so much better.
Everyone is going through something. Realizing that someone else (a friend, family member, etc.) is having struggles too can put your own problems into perspective. By helping them out, you can be grateful for the good things in your life, and grateful that you have the ability to help someone else.
That gratefulness you showcase will undoubtedly rub off on others as well, and they can continue to pay it forward.
Take the first step…
If you feel like you are struggling with acceptance and gratitude, I would like to help you decrease stress, and develop more self-compassion and higher self-esteem. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT