'Tis the season to practice gratitude. But when times are hard, family and friends busy with other obligations, or life doesn't seem to be treating you fairly, mustering up some gratitude seems like another difficulty to overcome. Even if you are in a funk or not feeling the gratitude of the season, there are simple ways you can cultivate gratitude in your life. Try these easy steps to start feeling more grateful and relax into the season.
Be present. So much of what stresses us out or makes us feel unsatisfied is caused by the worry and anxiety in our head. The "what ifs" or dwelling on comparing your circumstances to another's can take you into a whole world of misery. But if you stop to breathe, look around, and connect with what is right in front of you in this moment, there is likely something to be grateful for. Maybe it's as simple as a hot cup of coffee or the roof that you are sitting under. It's there at this moment, right now, and you can feel gratitude in the present. See if you can be present several times each day to see what you can feel gratitude for in the moment.
Walk the walk, talk the talk. Being grateful is a way of being. Smile when you meet others. Say "thank you" often. Talk about what you are fortunate for or abundant in ("I am so fortunate to have missed the traffic today," for example). Look around and share your thoughts on your gifts and blessings for the day! "What a gift the bright sun is." Language and behavior are powerful. Bring them into your life as tools for cultivating more gratitude.
Embrace the bad times. Being grateful doesn't mean sweeping your troubles under the rug or burying the past. Remembering the rough spots is a powerful way to cultivate a gratitude p in a challenging time, you can find those comparisons to bring up a sense of gratitude. We all know the "every cloud has a silver lining" saying but that isn't always helpful in the moment but often more so in hindsight. Instead, look at the moment you are in and see how it inspires its own gratitude for what it's not.
Cultivating a gratitude practice is just that - a practice. It takes time and effort, but each time you work at it, you will see results!