Now is a good time to be grateful! Not grateful for our problems and challenges but grateful in-spite of them and appreciating God’s blessings to us. The average person is not wired for gratitude; it doesn’t come to us naturally. Rather, our natural tendency is to complain and focus on what isn’t working.
Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can eliminate hopelessness and opens up our thinking to new solutions. Gratitude is a skill and like any skill worth having, it requires practice. The benefits of practicing gratitude can be life changing.
When we can see the positive in spite of all the negatives around us, it becomes more difficult to complain and stay stuck. Gratitude puts situations into perspective. The realization of what we're grateful for can lessen our tendency to want more all the time. Gratitude keeps us content with what we’ve been blessed with.
Gratitude makes us happier; it strengthens relationships, improves health, reduces stress, and, in general, makes us happier! Even if you aren't feeling particularly cheerful, don’t let your feelings stop you from giving thanks to God.
There is still much to be thankful for, if we only look around us with open eyes and hearts. Here are some ways you can cultivate gratitude and make it a part of your life.
Pause during your busy schedule to notice your day-to-day world from a point of gratitude and be amazed at all the goodness we take for granted. Birds, trees, fresh air, nature are all reasons to be grateful
Keep a gratitude journal. All it requires is noting one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. No fancy notebook, no computer program required.
Vow to not complain, criticize, or gossip for a week. If you slip, rally your willpower and keep going. Notice how much energy you were spending on negative thoughts.
When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for? Join a cause that's important to you. Donate money, time, or your talent. By getting involved, you’ll better appreciate what God has put in you to help the world.
As we have entered the 2nd half of the year, take stock, come up with a gratitude list, count your blessings, name them one by one and you'll be surprised at what God did for and through you so far this year!