When things are not going well in our lives, that’s all we see. Just the things that are not going the way that we would like them to go. After a while, it gets easy to believe that everything in our lives is bad.
When our lives are going okay, we know that not everything in our lives is bad. But when we’re feeling down, it’s hard to remember that how we’re feeling now is temporary.
This is what makes gratitude so important. Gratitude pulls us out of that mindset that life sucks and that it will always suck.
Gratitude forces us to regain perspective on our lives. It reminds us that there are still some things in our lives that are good.
It’s easy to practice gratitude when you’re feeling good. It’s not so easy when you’re feeling down.
Our emotions have a lot of control over the way we think and the things we think about. When we’re feeling sad, it’s easy for sad thoughts to consume our mind.
This is when gratitude becomes important.
If you already have a gratitude practice, then you’re already in the habit of focusing on what you’re grateful for no matter how you’re feeling.
But, if you don’t have a regular gratitude practice set up already, I have a suggestion for you.
My suggestion is that you list out the top 10 things you are grateful for. Print out your list on pretty printer paper. Frame it and hang it on a wall like artwork for your home. That way you will always have a reminder of the things you are grateful for.
Seeing it every day will help keep this in your subconscious mind making it more difficult for negative thoughts to stick around.
Bonus Gratitude Exercise
Here’s another suggestion, but it only works during the holidays…
I do this with my kids.
We take a large piece of paper and outline a Christmas tree and cut out the shape of the Christmas tree. Then we cut out shapes of ornaments.
Every evening for the month of December, we talk about something that went well that day or something we were grateful for that happened that day. We write it on an ornament and tape it to our cutout tree.
We do this for the entire month of December. By the 31st, we each have 31 ornaments on the tree. It’s quite a visual reminder of how often good things happen if only we pay attention to it.
That’s the key to why gratitude works. It gets you to pay attention to what’s good so that you don’t stay focused on what’s not so good.
Into everyone’s life, a little rain falls. No one’s life is perfect. We can all find something to complain about. Gratitude keeps us from getting stuck there.