I won’t lie and tell you this past year has been wonderful. It has been the hardest year of my entire life. It has been filled with deep emotion and grief. But, I will say that it has also been one of the most educational years of my life. I have learned so much about life, living, and love. It’s interesting how some of your darkest times are also some of the brightest. It is amazing, and such a tender mercy. The power of Gratitude is probably one of the biggest I have learned this year.
The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” There are so many benefits to practicing daily gratitude. Our brains are wired to notice and focus on the negative, so when we practice gratitude, we are rewiring our brains to notice more of the positive.
Simply writing in a gratitude journal for 5 minutes per day has proven to help with sleep, anxiety, health, and a variety of other issues. As you practice expressing gratitude, you will train your brain to see the good things happening in your life. Gratitude is more than just an emotion. It is a tool, and I have used it a lot in the past year. Even with my world feeling like it is crumbling apart, I can look around and see what I have. I have so much to be grateful for. I have my husband and children. I have them today and for eternity, even though we will most likely be separated on this Earth. I have wonderful, supportive family and friends. We have a beautiful home and neighborhood. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ and the peace and joy that it gives. This life is hard, but the good outweighs the hard. It truly does if you can learn to look for it.
To take gratitude to another level, I have even practiced being grateful for the things that are hard in my life. Being able to say you are grateful for the hard things is pretty powerful. It sounds crazy, right? How can I be grateful for the hard things that are happening in my life? Well, to be honest, I can’t always. But, I know that because of the hard things that are happening, I am being shaped and changed in a way that can’t happen any other way. I know that opportunities will open up and have opened up. My life has a new path that I didn’t expect a year ago, and someday, I may be able to say that I’m grateful for this path. I’m grateful that I have and will be able to have true empathy for others in hard situations. I also believe that everything happens for a reason. This is the path of my life, and I have to find a way to be ok with it. As I have practiced this new level of gratitude, it has been amazing to see that it is easier every time to truly FEEL the gratitude and not just say I’m grateful.
During a very difficult time in my life, I read this story. I have never forgotten it, and I have shared it multiple times. It is all about being thankful for the hard things in your life. I highly highly recommend taking the time to read it!
Here are 3 ways I challenge you to practice gratitude. Try it for 30 days. It will change your life!
- Write in a gratitude journal. It only takes 5 minutes. Write all the things you are grateful for today. Try not to repeat yourself. You can try to express gratitude for hard things here too.
- Express gratitude to at least one person every day. This can be in person, by text, in writing, any way. It is powerful for your relationships when you express gratitude to others. I have seen new relationships form in my life through gratitude. I have also seen relationships heal. It is amazing the impact gratitude has on relationships.
- Express gratitude to God every day. This is important, and if you are religious and have a habit of praying, you probably already do this. If you don’t, try it. I like to use my gratitude journal to do this as well because God is the source of all of the wonderful things in my life. Writing and prayer can go together in a very powerful way.
Try one or try all three. Try it for 30 days. I promise that if you do, you will find yourself, your relationships, your emotions, and your life changing for the better.