It goes without saying that the past few years have been some of the roughest in recent memory. As new challenges present themselves and old ones refuse to get solved, what do you do? One option is to focus on what you don’t have, what you miss from the old life, and the dreams postponed or canceled altogether. Another (preferable) option is to be grateful for what you do have. If this seems impossible, here are five ways to increase your gratitude.
Allow yourself to mourn
This isn’t typical advice for increasing gratitude but it’s important to acknowledge what frustrates you and feel the sorrow, the anger, and the loss. Allow yourself to mourn what could have been but wasn’t. Then take a deep breath and…
… count your blessings
Even in the worst of circumstances, all is not lost. As long as you’re alive and especially if you have your basic needs met, you have something to be grateful for. Even challenges can be blessings in disguise as they strengthen you and teach you important life lessons. From the tiniest to the largest, say thank you for all the good in your life.
Help someone in need
One of the worst aspects of ingratitude is the feeling that you’re suffering alone. Even if things are dark and miserable, you can be the light in someone else’s life. The ability to help, even with something as simple as a smile, is something to be grateful for.
Remember your challenges
(and how you overcame them)
No doubt this isn’t the first time in your life you’ve experienced a challenge. It may not have been as intense but you can still focus on how you made it through. How you survived or even thrived. When all you see is the misery of the present moment, remind yourself that you’ve overcome problems in the past and you’ll make it through this one too. Be grateful for the lessons you learned and the ways in which you’ve grown.
Take care of your health
It’s hard to muster up gratitude if you haven’t slept in days, eaten a healthy meal in weeks, or exercised in months. If your days are spent staring at screens, snacking nonstop, and avoiding all physical activity, it’s time to take stock of those habits affecting your health and do something about them.