Ah, Thanksgiving! The one day a year we push complaining to the side and practice gratitude. For a whole 24-hours we become thankful, kind, faith and family centered souls. You know, the kind of people we want to be, but seem too busy to be the rest of the year.
Well it’s the day after, and now that we’ve come down from our tryptophan high, I’m wondering how we can keep our attitude of gratitude going strong?
It sounds so easy, but hey, let’s face it – every day doesn’t seem like a good day. Sure, I’m a big proponent of positive thinking, but I also know all too well that some days we’re just tore up from the floor up! And while it’s easy to sit things to the side for a day, some of us really do have troubles that threaten to take us under at every turn. Is it possible to maintain a grateful heart?
Well, I think we can! In fact, in the midst of what seem like the worst of times gratitude can be the lifeline that helps us swing to the other side. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you what I recently discovered.
Over the last several months I’ve been doing research to finish my book. Part of it has been combing through my old journals, looking for the common themes of this season of my life. Man, what an exhilarating and excruciating experience, as the raw and ranging emotions from a series of cataclysmic events came rushing back.
In the past 2 1/2 years I’ve experienced sickness, grief, betrayal, forgiveness and reconciliation – many of which all at once! Some days, the words in my journal flowed like a peaceful stream, other days a roaring rapid. But regardless of whether I was lamenting my challenges or celebrating my triumphs, I always seemed to end with gratitude.
I don’t think I would have noticed the pattern had I not been journaling. In fact, some days I’m not sure I would have ever gotten to grateful without writing. Expressing myself in writing helped me get down to the good part. It released all my frustrations, hurts, and irritations allowing me to reach a place of unfiltered truth. That’s when I began to see the gratitude pour out.
Thankfulness was my way of leveling me out. It restored my hope and reminded me that even though I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I had certainly come a long way. Over and over, when I focused on being grateful, I found a measure of peace. Because at the end of the day, no matter what was happening, I was grateful for life, and the chance to try again.
That’s the gift gratitude gives us – a better perspective on what is, has been, and is yet to be. It doesn’t force any day to be more than what it is. Instead, gratitude reminds us that every day is part of the journey. Sometimes the sun shines. Other days it’ll rain. But it’s all good, in the bye and bye.
So if we want to practice an attitude of gratitude every day – not just holidays – here are my three tips to maintain a grateful heart.
- Assume There is Some Good in Each Day, and Aim to Find It! Even in the worst of times there can be unexpected moments of joy. Like attending a loved one’s funeral and seeing family you haven’t seen in years. Or losing a job, but having more time to pursue your true passions. Or in my case, getting sick…which kept me still enough to finally here God’s voice. Remember – life is about the long game. Each day may not make sense on its own, but when we look back over time, we often realize that it has all comes together for the good.
- Learn to Let it Go. Don’t Waste a Mad on Things That Don’t Really Matter. We often lose sight of how good we have it because we let little irritants become big issues. Listen, half the stuff we let get on our nerves should never even be a blip on our radar. But when we get busy, out-of-order people can send us over the edge. You know what I do now? Observe, and move on. I do not even bother to waste a mad. Rude sales people? I’m grateful for the power to choose not to shop there. Someone stole my parking spot? I thank God for the walk. Life’s too sweet to be miserable, and way too short to waste time.
- Make Service a Way of Life! If you think you have problems, try serving at a food pantry, homeless shelter, or orphanage. Not just on special days, but as an ongoing part of your life. I guarantee you’ll leave more grateful than when you got there.
If we’re willing, we can let gratitude be our attitude. We just have to choose it!
So will you join me, in making gratitude an attitude for life? If so, drop us a line below leaving your tips on how you practice gratitude even when life puts up road blocks in your path.
I believe that together, we can keep the spirit of the holiday season alive the whole year!
Sending You Big Hugs and Love ❤