How to Be Grateful During Tough Times
Gratitude is a positive feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for having received a benefit in your life. It may also include expressing the feeling of appreciation to the person or source of the blessing. For example, you might send a thank you note to a favorite college professor who made a difference in your life. Another example would be offering a prayer of thanks to God for keeping your family safe. Research has found that those who express gratitude regularly are happier, healthier and more optimistic than their less grateful peers.
It is easy to complain about taxes or high prices. It is easy to focus on the things that go wrong and all the things that you don’t have. If you compare yourself to someone who is wealthier, it is natural to become dissatisfied. However, if you compare yourself to the rest of the world, you will realize that you are very prosperous and blessed. According to GlobalRichList.com, if you earn $3,000 per month, you are wealthier than 95.7 percent of the world’s population. If you make $4,000 per month, you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world’s population.
Gratitude can also be a powerful coping method when something unpleasant or unfortunate occurs. Feeling grateful doesn’t mean that you deny that an event was unpleasant or unfortunate. For example, if you slipped and sprained your ankle while hiking, you shouldn’t try to force yourself to be glad about the accident. However, you could be grateful that you didn’t break any bones. Gratitude helps you to reframe negative events so that you see them in a more positive way.
Tennis star Author Ashe contracted AIDS in 1983 from a blood transfusion he received while undergoing heart surgery. People sometimes asked him how he was able to maintain a grateful attitude. They wanted to know if he ever felt bitter or self-pitying about having contracted a fatal disease. He explained, “I never ask ‘Why me?’ If I asked, ‘Why me?’ about my troubles, I would have to ask, ‘Why me?’ about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful gifted woman and having a wonderful child?”
I encourage you to find five things to be grateful for during each of the next seven days. At the end of the week I believe that you will agree with Zig Ziglar, who said, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important, and by far the most life-changing.”