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Being grateful on a daily basis for just a week is proven to have so many benefits. The practice of gratitude has been something practiced by both spiritual and personal development people to help them achieve mindfulness, happiness and success.

You might ask, How am I supposed to “be grateful”? Well its really quite simple…you turn those negative and ungrateful feeling thoughts off and practice thinking about everything that we have to be happy about…to be grateful for. If you really think about it, there is so much that we can be grateful for, even  when things seem to be going badly.

In fact, when things seem like they are really going badly just maybe its “the universe” pointing us in a different direction…maybe the hard times are simply an opportunity to learn…a life lesson in gratitude. Being grateful is not limited to winning the lottery, gaining popularity or doing well in school. It is about being thankful…being grateful for what we have right now.

How about having food on the table? What about clothes? Do you have any friends? What if you could be grateful for those things you take for granted? This is not an excuse to beat yourself up, or a criticism that says you “ought to be” grateful. This can be counterproductive. The old cliche of telling your children to “think of the poor starving children in Ethiopia” to get them to finish their plate never served those children in Ethiopia. If anything it taught children to stuff themselves beyond their physical need, worse yet created food addictions and maybe even obesity.

Don’t get me wrong, I not suggesting its in anyway easy to show gratitude especially when a crisis happens. But we need to remember that there is feeling grateful and then there is being grateful…two different things. Feeling grateful is difficult because this comes from emotions and its very difficult to change certain emotions and “will” ourselves for feel grateful, less depressed or will our selves to feel joyous and happy.

Being grateful is a choice, an attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the positive or negative things that might come into our lives and might leave our lives. When we are in a crisis this type of “being grateful” provides us with a certain way of seeing things in a way that we can look at life as a whole and not be overwhelmed by the crisis. This kind of being grateful is not easy but through personal experience I find that once you are capable of “being grateful”, it can completely change your life…change who you are.

Tip #1 – Remembering the bad times

The bad things we’ve experienced can actually refine and deepen our ability to “feel grateful” if we allow them to show us not to take things for granted. We all celebrate Thanksgiving, which is considered our National holiday of gratefulness. The history of this holiday is interesting and was founded on the pilgrims who experienced extremely hard times just to survive. In fact nearly half of them died from trying to survive the winters in a new country. Now doesn’t this alone make you “feel grateful”. But gratefulness is not to be attached to a particular holiday or time of the year. Practicing being gratefulness is a process and should be something we practice year round.

When times are good, people tend to take prosperity for granted but in times of crisis or uncertainty. It’s so important to see whatever crisis you may be experiencing, feel it, understand what it is and then just try to think of what others may be experiencing that may be worse…this is the beginning of allowing oneself of “feel grateful”. When you have the ability to empathize for what others are experiencing it will allow you to begin seeing everything wonderful that you have, everything that could have been taken away and how much harder things could have been.

So hard times can make us more grateful—but being gratitude also helps us cope with those hard times. Feeling grateful or having a grateful attitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system will catch us every time we do fall. Since I have been practicing “being grateful”, I sincerely have experienced less stress as a result of current circumstances, less feeling sorry for myself because of the trials and suffering I have experienced my entire life and in general I feel that I have become for resilient to minor crisis’ situations that may happen in my life. So my first tip for “being a grateful person is: remember the bad.

Tip #2 – Changing How You See Crisis

Being Grateful is not about ignoring feelings or denying what we have experience in life but, in my opinion, certain feelings come other things like….Feeling sorry for ourselves because of our past experiences and feeling hurt because of how we have been treated. I absolutely believe that those feelings should be acknowledged and not ignored because everything we have experienced in life has shaped who we are as human beings.
What I am saying is that if something from your past is causing you feeling of sadness, depression or not allowing you to move forward in your life then it is critical that you “change the way in which you are seeing that memory”. Although it is a learned thing, when I begin to feel certain emotions that are attached to traumatic events of my childhood, I acknowledge those feelings…I acknowledge the words and questions that come with those feelings and then I change the way I feel and think and I have a whole different set of questions I ask myself:
  • How many people in my neighbourhood, in my province, in my country, in the world are or have experienced so much more trauma…so much more crisis? This question alone makes my thought process about my “bad times” change significantly.
  • What did I learn from my “bad times”?
  • How have my “bad times” changed me? How have they made me a better and more grateful person?
  • How can I find ways to show that I’m feeling grateful? I do this in so many ways but using my skills by giving back to certian organizations/charities is one of “my” ways
  • How am I now more the person I want to be because of it?

Remember, the goal is not to either relive your “bad time” or to forget your “bad time”. The goal is to simply see them in a different way…simply switching the thought process and turning even the bad times into opportunities for learning to be grateful.

These are some really simple times that will guide you in the process of allowing yourself to  change your ways of thinking…allowing you to feel grateful for where you are now, for what you have and for who you are. So take these times and start practicing “feeling grateful”.

Go Ahead and Shine

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