It feels great to be grateful. On the good and eventful days, gratitude flows seamlessly like a stream, and if you keep a gratitude journal, it won’t take you long before you start writing about the things that make your heart rejoice. But that’s not the whole story. Some days it’s tough to feel true gratitude, or hard to find anything to be grateful for at all. Some days you might wonder why you should feel grateful because nothing seems okay. Like life, the gratitude practice is not an eternal upward slope. Even the best of us will feel challenged as struggles dim our energy to appreciate the many blessings we have.
First things first, it’s okay if you spend a day or two without feeling grateful. Attempting to force yourself to feel what you can’t truly isn’t a wise step. Acceptance of our reality is the most crucial step towards healing. However, if you think that you need a push in the right direction, or you’re ready to get back on track, we have some tips for you.
1. Think small
When you’re at a loss of things to feel grateful for, think small. Look at your life through a microscope to focus on the obvious, ever-present parts that you might not even spare a thought to. For example, your hands help you interact with everything around you. Without them, it would be quite a struggle. But, how many times a day do you appreciate how fundamental they are to your day-to-day life?
Similarly, things like clean, drinking water, food, access to transport services, roads, music, oxygen, cool wind, flowers, technology, education, sleep, friendship, free resources, warmth, light, are some of the things that we engage with regularly in one way or another but somehow forget to mention as enthusiastically as we do other great achievements. These are the parts of our lives that have been with us in humble times, like that friend who stays with you through everything.
"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."
- Camille Pissarro
Think about all the little and insignificant things that make your life functional and your days easier when you can’t find anything shiny to celebrate. It can be a delightful experience. The other day, Gratitude’s co-founder, Shashi Kumar, wrote on our company Slack channel that he was grateful for his evening tea and that made me smile happily. I love tea too, but I haven’t appreciated it as much as I should. Take a moment to find the small activities in your day that are so intrinsic that they escape your notice. Let’s be grateful for every sweet thing we have.
For more ideas, read our List of 40 Things to Feel Grateful for Today.
2. Relive grateful moments
If this moment is too hard to experience positively, then don't force it. One thing you can do though is to relive a time when you did feel truly grateful. Nostalgia is a beautiful place to venture into when our present is a messy trail. Go back to that day when your laughter spread through the air and your heart danced joyfully. Reminisce all the sweet blessings you received and express gratitude again. Let these memories give you hope that even if the present times are not the brightest ones, they will be one day.
"The morning will come again
No darkness, no season is eternal"
- Spring Day, BTS
Savor that feeling of pure joy. Even in the tiniest of fortunate occurrences, let your appreciation of them know no bounds. Trust that the way you could feel grateful then, you will once again. One day at a time, this winter will pass by.
3. Be generous
Another way to go is to take the focus away from yourself and express gratitude to all the people that love us and have made our lives more beautiful with their presence. So many wonderful people have shaped us into who we are today, have gone out of their way to help us out and make us smile. People that have supported us through tough times, and been our well-wishers. Let's take this moment to appreciate them. Maybe they need it too, maybe our words can brighten up their day.
Here are some of the people who can think of. It could be the start of something great. There is immense power in making someone feel happy, and it could turn out to be the very thing that gives a spark to your soul.
In the end, let's make it a point to remember these three points whenever we feel down or run out of ideas. I hope that at least one of them will help you out in tough or confusing times. Even the effort to want to practice gratitude when it's hard is commendable. Keep going, the day will come when it won't be so hard. I wish you the best :)