Practicing Gratitude Even When Times Are Tough

In my last post we talked about how problems are blessings in disguise. I would like to take this idea a step further and ask: what if instead of being dismayed by our problems we were instead grateful for them? What if we practiced gratitude every time we had a problem and thanked the Universe?

To apply this in a real life situation, imagine a scenario where you’re driving down the road and your car breaks down. Of course, there is that initial gut level emotional reaction where you get upset, which is normal. But once you’re done being upset, instead of continuing to gripe, imagine saying a grateful “thank you,” and letting the Universe know that even though you don’t understand how this problem could be a gift, you know that it will show you in time.

If you had actually reached your destination, it would be like any other day. You would have crossed some things off your list, felt satisfied, and then headed back home for your evening routine.

But with a broken down car, you will spend the afternoon at a repair show and end up with a big bill. You will also miss the important event you were driving to, but I can assure you that by practicing gratitude, something good is bound to come out of the situation. A week later you might end up getting a check in the mail that you weren’t expecting for the exact amount that covers the cost of the bill. Or you might end up spending the afternoon at the repair shop making small talk with your future spouse.

Life is full of these gems, but we are more open to receiving them by practicing gratitude even in the worst of situations.

So, consider your problems and challenges, or even things you hear about things in the news that are bothersome. More than likely you are used to grumbling about them or perhaps feeling angry, upset, and even hopeless.

Now, instead of thinking how bad things are getting, say a heartfelt, “Thank you” and sit with that thankful feeling for a moment. Acknowledge that there is a lesson to be learned and that even though you don’t understand it right now, everything is in perfect order.

At the very least, choosing to be grateful tends to open up more solutions, rather than staying stuck and only looking at the worst-case scenario.  

Try being grateful more often in your own life. Most people aren’t used to practicing gratitude, let alone practicing gratitude for problems, so this is one way to get into the habit.

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