I know, it’s hard to be grateful sometimes. When we lose a loved one to accidents, illness, or tragedy…when we fall prey to injustice, crime, and hate, life seems unspeakably unfair, and our anger and hurt can blind us to our blessings. But there is hope, there is always hope…and that first step to healing and peace comes with one life-changing adjustment, gratitude.
I encourage you to take these easy steps, in whatever pace or order you find comfortable, and I promise you, from the bottom of my heart and from someone who has learned the life-breathing power of gratitude, it will change your life and relationships forever:
- Volunteer: This can be as big or little as you can handle. From taking a shift at a soup kitchen to planning a soiree fundraiser, use YOUR skills and experience to help others. Putting your wants and desires on the side is a surefire way to lift you out of your own problems and into the light and grace of giving.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
- Pray: Bow your head, lift your eyes up to the sky, or simply lie in bed with your eyes closed. Whether you are religious, spiritual, somewhere in between, or not there yet, stopping and giving thanks fills your spirit with gratitude and puts good into the air.
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – E.E. Cummings
- Meditate: You might be thinking, “But that’s too hard!” or “I can’t meditate, it never works for me!” BELIEVE me, I’ve been there. When your mind races a mile a minute, and you think you are never going to be able to ‘quiet the mind.’ I promise, with practice, it will happen. It’s like exercise. It’s awkward at first, but once you hit that zone, (think of a runners zone) you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t done it before and you’ll crave it every day. (This is a big one for parents and single mommas like me)
“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” – Ralph H. Blum
- Hug someone: Your child, your friend, a stranger (be courteous of their space and with permission). I have actually been looked at funny/down on for hugging homeless people. Don’t ever, ever let people like that guide your actions. Go with your heart. You can bring joy to people who need it most, and give love to those who didn’t know they needed it.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde
- Write: A text, an email, a greeting card, or (gasp!) an actual letter. While the latter might seem like a foreign concept in today’s techno world, receiving a hand-written letter is an incredible experience to have and to share. Try it. Whatever you choose, let the people in your life know how much they mean to you. We all know how quickly that can change.
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners that make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Are there other ways you show gratitude? Comment in the section below.