Feeling Gratitude When the World is Falling Apart

blessings, family, gratitude, habits, health, mindfulness

Today’s post is about gratitude–my personal reasons for it, and the importance of cultivating gratitude in your life.  There are times when our problems take over and we forget to count our blessings. Feeling gratitude is often easier when times are good.  However, even when life seems to be an endless struggle, we can still find things to be grateful for.

Listening to the news reports, it isn’t hard to feel that the world is falling apart.  Today, more than ever, with violence in America and abroad, an upcoming Presidential election that is polarizing society, and senseless killings in our communities, it is easy to focus on what we have to fear, rather than on what makes us feel secure.

I’m guilty of all of the above.  As a heart transplant patient, I worry about my health and what’s in store for me in the coming years.  I worry about money, because I live paycheck to paycheck.  Like all mothers, I worry about my son and his future.  At times, it’s a struggle to keep balance in my life.  For health reasons, I have to be careful not to burn myself out: I can’t do everything I’d like to do and it can be frustrating.  I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s better to take a time-out and regroup rather than pushing blindly ahead.

Are you struggling with gratitude?  You are not alone.  Here’s a helpful and interesting article on experiencing gratitude from the Greater Good Science Center.  I visit the site regularly for tips on living a better life.

Cultivating Gratitude

If you have trouble feeling grateful, don’t worry.  According to the folks at Greater Good in Action, there are things you can do to cultivate gratitude in your life, and they won’t cost you a thing.  A little time and effort are all that’s required.

  1. Three Good Things – Each day, for at least a week, write down three things that went well for you that day, explaining why it went well.
  2. Gratitude Letter – Write a letter to someone whom you’d like to thank for helping you, and if possible, deliver it in person.  If that’s not an option, try emailing it or even sending it through the postal mail.
  3. Imagine Life without that Special Someone – Bring to mind an important relationship in your life (it could be anyone who matters to you), and imagine your life without that person.
  4. Mindfulness Walk – Taking a daily stroll can help develop mindfulness and appreciation for nature and our place in it.

Counting My Blessings

In order to keep myself on track, I must remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for.  First and foremost, I’m grateful to be alive.  Actually, that’s the big one for me.  Having a heart transplant nearly 8 years ago, it’s all it takes to bring me back to my senses and keep me from feeling sorry for myself.  I’m also glad to be as healthy as I am, considering that I live with a chronic health condition.  I have been blessed in so many ways, it would be selfish of me not to give thanks for being here today.

My situation isn’t typical, but it is what I face.  Just as your life is unique, with your own challenges to face. No one’s life is perfect, and everybody has their problems.  Some people hide it better than others, and many people suffer in silence.  There is always someone in the world who is worse off than you.

Have Faith

The important thing to remember when you’re having trouble feeling grateful is that whatever has got you feeling down shall pass.  Resolve to make the necessary changes to improve your situation, if change is possible.  Practice the exercises listed here, listen to your favorite song, and breathe deeply.  Take a moment and reflect on your life and all of the things you’ve been through and overcome.  You are stronger than you know.  Counting your blessings gets easier with practice.

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