For almost a year, we’ve lived with the coronavirus pandemic, a questionable economy, and a shaky political situation. So, being grateful in spite of all these factors can be very difficult.
These challenges are all real and often cause us to focus on the negative. It’s much easier to see what’s not working in our world.
However, this is the exact time when we should seek out gratitude and explore the good in our circumstances.
Some of the benefits of fostering gratitude in your life include increased happiness, more optimism, less anxiety, envy, and depression.
Here’s how you can discover the good in even the most challenging circumstances.
Here are 5 ways of finding gratitude in unlikely places every single day.
1. Appreciate the little things.
People will often say, “Well how can I be grateful when I just lost my job and am getting divorced?” While these are challenging experiences, you can appreciate what you do have.
The simple pleasures of life, such as the sunshine on your face, enjoying a cup of tea, the kindness of strangers, the pleasure of time with pets.
Seek out the good and make a habit of finding three things every day that went well.
2. Be thankful.
Make thankfulness a regular part of your day. Keep a journal to write down things that are going well and note people who have supported you in your journey.
Research has consistently shown that recognizing and sharing the gifts of life with others leads to increased happiness and stronger relationships.
Consider writing a letter to someone special in your life and telling them what things you appreciate about them.
3. Imagine the “what if” scenarios.
Sometimes, thinking about “What if I didn’t have the house I have, the job I enjoy, family members who support me? What would life be like?”
Imagining the worst-case scenario can help you put things in perspective and help you appreciate what you do have.
By considering “what if” scenarios, we learn to appreciate things that oftentimes we take for granted.
We forget about the small things that sustain and support us every day. Being more aware and present of these gifts can bring richness to our day.
4. Finding pleasure in everyday experiences.
Savoring your daily cup of coffee while watching the snowfall, enjoying the smell of cookies… These are all ways to enjoy the good things that we experience every day.
Tuning into our physical sensations can help up experience more gratitude. We often rush through our day without noticing the simple things that bring us joy.
Noticing positive physical sensations can increase our sense of gratitude and cultivate happiness.
5. Noticing everyday success.
Achieving goals every day increases our sense of well-being and accomplishment.
Setting small, attainable goals, such as a lunchtime walk or organizing the pantry, are things that we often overlook and don’t take note of.
Every day, set some daily goals and acknowledge that you are reaching them at the end of the day.
This method is a wonderful way to increase positive feelings and give thanks for our accomplishments.
Despite the present challenges in your life and the daily challenges of living with COVID-19, there are still ways to find joy and express gratitude in our lives.
Practice these tips for the next 30 days and see if you notice a positive shift in how you are feeling.
Monica Ramunda, MA, LPC, RPT-S helps clients see their lives as a gift and encourages practices that lead to a more harmonious life. She is the owner of both Rocky Mountain Counseling Services and Lighthouse Counseling Services. Reach out today to learn more about her services.