How many ways can you feel gratitude when things suck? And do I really expect you to do it? Yes, I’d love for you to try.

When things suck it’s hard to feel gratitude but I have 7 ways to feel gratitude that will help you get through it.

Gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that you can experience. It connects you to what is really important in your life. It reminds you that as long as you’re breathing, everything is going to be okay. And it helps frame your day, your expectations, and your actions.

Embracing gratitude can be as simple as saying thank you.

Life is unpredictable and occasionally things suck. Each day we’re faced with situations that test our ability to behave with grace and deal with difficulties. It’s easy to get angry, scared, or resentful and forget to be grateful for the good things in our lives.

Question: If we don’t cherish and feel grateful for the good things we already have, how can we justify wanting more?

7 ways to feel gratitude when things suck:

Do something kind for someone else every day

When we’re going through a stressful period in our lives and things suck, we get so self-centered and mired in self-pity that we rarely stop to think about others. This is precisely when we need to turn away from our negative mindset by doing something kind for someone else.

Who can you think of who needs a little kindness? Have somebody been really supportive lately? Do something nice for them and you will feel better about yourself.

Gratitude is an emotion that really connects deep inside you. It makes you feel peaceful, hopeful, and connected to others. There are many ways to express gratitude and each day you have a fresh opportunity to experience gratitude by doing something nice for someone.

Hold a door for someone. Help someone struggling in the grocery store parking lot or return your shopping cart to the corral (Thanks, Joyce Meyer). Offer a friendly smile to that neighbor you’ve never met. Or if you’re feeling really generous, pay it forward and buy coffee for the person in line behind you.

Flexing this gratitude muscle every day changes how you interact and engage with the world. It makes you feel more grateful for your life even when things suck.

Say thank you for the little things

When things suck and you feel like a victim, it can be extremely hard to feel grateful. And yet, there are plenty of small joys around you even on your most difficult of days. How do you notice them? By shifting your focus.

Ask yourself, ‘What blessings have I received lately? How can I show my gratitude for those blessings? Is there someone who deserves a thank you note from me?’ When you feel the prompt, send the note.

Being able to say thank you for the small things helps you shift your focus from life’s current challenges to life’s pleasures. In this way, your mind expands and supports you in finding solutions and ways to get unstuck and move forward.

It’s so simple and yet we often forget to say these two words. Say thank you when somebody shows you kindness.  The person you’re thanking will feel appreciated and you’ll feel good about yourself and them. Consistently expressing gratitude helps you to build better relationships and connections.

Establish a no-complaining zone

Complaining is basically the opposite of gratitude. And like feeling gratitude, complaining can quickly become a habit. But if you create a zone in which there is no complaining you can stop this habit before it gets out of control.

Your no-complaining zone can be anywhere you like, it’s just important that you establish boundaries and get started.

I made my no-complaining zone everywhere, for an entire month and it blew my mind.

Why? It was so hard! I didn’t realize how often I was complaining until I had to stop myself like 100 times a day. #humbling

Not complaining became easier for me when I told my friends and family so they could hold me accountable and started wearing a piece of reminder jewelry. I’m usually in favor of anything that involves jewelry but this one was very important because of the visual reminder that I was not complaining. I glanced at my jewelry a lot and it reinforced my decision to behave differently. And it was all sparkly and pretty.

You can break your complaining habit by wearing a bracelet, too. The goal is to wear the bracelet on one wrist for thirty days. But if you complain, you have to move it to your other wrist and start over.

You might be surprised how difficult it can be to keep complaints to yourself for 30 whole days! I promise that by the end of the 30 days, your mindset will have changed. You’ll be more grateful and able to focus on what is good in your life.

Re-frame your negativity

Challenging times can birth lots of negativity. If you run into an obstacle, you may start sabotaging yourself by leaning into sadness, hammering yourself with regrets, and generating tons of unproductive negative thoughts.

Shifting your perspective is the best way to re-frame negativity. Few things in life are strictly black or white, good or bad. Choose to look at your situation differently, focusing on the goodness and benefits in your current struggles and try to learn from them.

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Keep a gratitude journal

This is probably the most popular gratitude practice. Many women who keep a journal credit it with better quality sleep, increased immunity, more resilience, and an overall improved mood. All these benefits come in handy when you’re trying to feel gratitude when things suck.

A gratitude journal is a daily practice where you write down a number of things that you’re grateful for every day. These journals increased in popularity about ten years ago. Oprah talked about how powerful gratitude was for her and tons of people took note.

To start a gratitude journal all you need is a few moments of undisturbed time, willingness to reflect, and a place to capture your thoughts like a notebook, phone, or laptop. (notebook, phone, laptop. Just open your journal and start by reflecting on the following questions: What experiences in my life can I be grateful for? What happened lately that makes me feel thankful? What opportunities do I have today? What have the significant others in my life done that I am grateful for?

Writing the answers to these questions helps you organize your thoughts, process information and experiences, and supports you in accepting your challenging times by putting them in context.

You can make gratitude journaling part of your daily routine by writing in your journal first thing in the morning as you look at your day or last thing at night. There are mobile apps for gratitude journaling or you can buy a printed journal. A simple notebook works too, your journal doesn’t have to be fancy.

Donate your time or money or things

When things suck a quick way to turn them around is to give to someone else. If you have some extra time or a little extra money, give it to your favorite charity. Things immediately look better when you’re looking through the lens of helping others, especially when they will never know you did it. And when you clean out your closets or find that you have some extra material goods around the home, consider donating them. Gratitude grows  when you give to others. It serves as a reminder about all that you have.

Create a 100 Things to be Grateful For List

I know this idea sounds really off, bear with me. If I’m in the land of suck how am I going to come up with 100 things to be grateful for, Allegra?! You don’t have to create the list all at one time. AND you don’t have to start the list during your most challenging time. You can start the list with the 10 things you can think of and then put the list somewhere you can see it. As you come up with more things to be grateful for, simply add them to the list.

It will get easier and easier to write down things that you appreciate. And if you get stuck you could ask a friend for one thing they are grateful for. You can be grateful for that thing also and you have one more thing on your list. Easy, peasy.

Referring back to your 100 list will immediately make things suck a little less.

Everyone struggles, gets stuck, and experiences difficulty. Next time you find yourself having a tough time, remember that crisis is also a wonderful growth opportunity. Embrace the challenge, frost it with gratitude, and you’ll experience genuine growth.

Allegra Sinclair

Allegra Sinclair is a professional coach and confidence expert. She hates to see women living small and loves to help them change how they show up in the world.

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