“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some days are just great. Things go as planned or even better life feels great and you are able to easily navigate all areas of your life.
Then there are other days. Days when you do not feel motivated at all.
When the world seems to have other plans for you. When something important or even unimportant unexpectedly goes wrong and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach.
Or when you feel sorry for yourself and honestly just want to go back to bed and to sleep again.
Maybe the simplest and most effective ways to turn such a day, week or month around into something more positive and better is to turn your focus to gratitude.
Why? Because even when things are really hard we can find small things (that for some maybe big) to be grateful for, and science tells us feeling grateful is one of the most powerful ways to feel good and invite joy in to our lives.
Here are 5 simple tips to turn your day around
Step One: Allow yourself to feel as you do and decide if you want this to change
Let yourself know when you are feeling resentment. Otherwise your resentment will remain an automatic thought, simmering below the surface of consciousness and making you miserable without your fully knowing why. Be grateful that you can be honest about such a difficult feeling. Next, make the conscious decision to change. Ask yourself, “Do I want to feel resentful or grateful?” If you choose “resentful,” you probably need more time to process your feelings. If you choose “grateful,” you are ready for the ideas below.
Step Two: Be grateful for the obvious
Look around you and be grateful for all that you have, big or small.
The roof over your head, the water you can drink freely from the sink. having water running in your toilet, the bed you are sleeping on – You get the the point.
This will connect you to what you DO have instead of focusing on what you DON’T have.
Step 3: Just say thank you!
As we are approaching gift giving and receiving season, make a decision ahead of time to appreciate whatever gift is given to you. Thank the person. Be grateful that he remembered you, even if you don’t care for the gift itself. (Take it back later or re-gift.) Write your thank-you notes, like your mama said. You’ll feel a gratitude buzz!
Step 4: Do for others what you hope to receive
Don’t wait around for others to make you feel good before you do the same for others. Take action and do small things for others you would hope they would do for you, or things you know would make your day if someone did them for you. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line. Say good morning and give a candy to person helping you check out at the grocery store, give a compliment to a random stranger on the street, offer to help an old lady with her bag. See how there reaction, gratitude and joy effects yours.
Step Five: Be kind to yourself.
When you catch self-critical thoughts, replace them with thoughts that are more compassionate and caring. “I can’t ever say the right thing” can become, “I’m doing the best I can, and I’ll get better with practice”.