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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

How to Be Grateful in Troubling Times

Sometimes it can be challenging to step into a state of gratitude during times of tumult and fear. But now, more than ever, we need to practice grace. The practice of gratitude can lift us out from under the heavy weight of our unsavory thoughts and feelings and move us into the direction of loving-kindness.

I have faced several difficult moments in my life [as most of us have] and during these times I remember going through a number of emotions; some even hard to describe.

I’m not sure at what point during these experiences did I start to practice gratitude but this, among other mindfulness implementations, saved me. Of course it's hard especially when you are in the thick of it, and that is when you need it the most. But how do you get there, when you aren't feeling it. How to find gratitude when you're in a rut?

Practice. Repetition. Repeat.

1. When you wake up, don't pick up your phone immediately; instead, take a few deep breaths.

2. Think of three things you’re grateful for. Start with something small, such as being alive, the fact that you can breathe, you have a comfortable bed, you have a roof over your head. Whatever comes to mind. It can be the same three things every morning or maybe you challenge yourself and think of three new things every day.

3. If you notice resistance, just become aware of it. Do not force it.

4. Maybe this isn't you and it's hard to come up with things. Perhaps a different prompt might work, such as:

What is your favorite song and why?

Look outside the window, what is one thing you see that makes you feel good; sun, rain, trees, birds?

Think of someone who makes you feel safe.

What about someone who makes you laugh.

You can also apply these exercises by using a journal or even the notes in your phone. I typically write down things I appreciate, and love going back and read them over and over.

After my Grandpa passed I made a list every night for one whole year before I fell asleep of 30 things that happened during the day that made me feel good. It didn't bring him back or make me feel less sad but it helped with the pain and it was nice to still have so much to be thankful for.

I still keep a journal and scribble in my notes on my phone and every night before I go to bed I think of things that make me happy.

We've been experiencing some heavy duty things this year and being grateful can be a tool to find our strength and face things that are hard during turbulent times.

I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude. - Brené Brown

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