Year Round Gratitude — Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
When I first heard that quote, it nearly knocked me off my feet! I’d never considered the disservice I was doing to myself by comparing my success and happiness to that of others. As they say, the grass is always greener, right?
Sometimes, gratitude feels like a faraway thought. Don’t get me wrong; I’m abundantly grateful for the love and support of my family, the joy my career brings me and the blessing of my good health.
But sometimes, there are days where I feel downright lousy, and gratitude is the LAST thing on my mind.
Have you ever felt that? It’s okay to admit it!
I think many people struggle with the guilt of NOT feeling endless gratitude and lose sight of their own humanity. Everyone has bad days and struggles to see the brighter side — it’s all part of the human experience.
Now, I’m not saying it’ll be easy or even possible to feel grateful every second of every day, but we sure can try!
What possibilities lay before us, if we were able to feel more gratitude every single day? How could gratitude impact our careers, personal lives or self-image?
I’m still discovering that for myself; in the meantime, I’d like to share a few simple lifestyle changes, to increase your sense of gratitude and hopefully make it last.
When you have negative thoughts, don’t let them take hold of you — put action into negative emotions in a productive and positive way.
Feeling like the world is out to get you or you’re bound to fail? Seek a “win” — something you know you can excel at, will make you feel good or put a smile on your face.
Rather than immediate gratification, accomplish something — even if it’s small.
For example, exercise is an accomplishment — how amazing to move your body, free of injury or disease! Or, cook your favorite meal — how lucky you are to have food and a safe home available to you!
Stop negative thoughts right in their tracks and start ACTING on your gratitude.
Yep, you read it right! You all know I’m a huge believer in writing and journalling, yet I seldom hear of others being encouraged to write negative thoughts and emotions.
I find creating a negativity list is a powerful tool for releasing unwanted thoughts or emotions. Remember, this list is for YOU and no one else, so be honest — even brutally honest.
I think you’ll find, as you’re writing out your list, it is unproductive to spend your time focused on the dark side when you could be embracing the light.
Even when you’re feeling incredibly down and ready to give up, there’s always something you’re grateful for. In tough moments, it can be hard to conjure up — everything feels lousy, and there is no “brighter side.”
Now, turn away from the devil on your shoulder and really think: what are you grateful for? Who are you grateful for? Start to make a list, or write them out on little sticky notes.
Here’s my favorite part — share your gratitude with others. Let them know you’re grateful for them and what they bring to your life — your spouse for their endless support and love, your kids for their trust and enthusiasm, the list goes on and on.
Another idea is to look around your home and notice the abundance of comfort and ease. Show your home some love, too.
Even a silly post-it thanking your fridge for being stocked, your couch for being cozy, your clothes for keeping your warm can remind you of the many blessings you encounter each day.
Remember the quote from earlier: “Comparison is the thief of joy?” Social media can play a big role in the perceptions you have of yourself and circumstances.
It’s hard to avoid altogether; understanding how to use social media to your advantage can actually enhance, rather than hinder feelings of gratitude.
Avoid accounts or profiles, portraying an image, lifestyle or level of success, which makes you feel less than you are or somehow not good enough.
Instead, start bookmarking links or articles to inspire you, keep you motivated and grateful.
For example, if I’m having a slow day and can’t seem to get my feet off the ground, I listen to a talk given by my late mentor, Zig Ziglar.
Almost instantly, I’m renewed with a feeling of gratitude for the years I was able to work alongside and learn from him.
Don’t allow social to be your thief of joy — flip the script and create the joy for yourself.
Gratitude is a change agent to life. It has so many wonderful benefits, if only you allow it.
How do you show gratitude? Tell us what you’re grateful for in the comments below!