When things are not going well in your life, you are almost certainly not thinking of how grateful you are. How can you be grateful when you are having problems in your personal relationship, or perhaps lost your full-time employment? Or worse, if you have lost a loved one?
However, challenging times are the best times to practice gratitude. You certainly cannot ignore your hardships or dismiss your emotions. Your negative feelings are valid. What gratitude can do is make you more resilient to life’s challenges, allowing you to consciously focus on the positive things that happen to you and the blessings you continue to receive.
Gratitude Helps You Be Resilient
Practicing gratitude when things are hard allows you to deal with your problems more effectively. Being grateful has profound positive effects on your emotional and physical health, which can contribute to clear thinking and wise decision-making, so you can find solutions to your problems.
Gratitude reminds you that there are still good things that can and will happen to you. Imagine if you only focused on your hardships and let your negative feelings overwhelm you. You would soon feel depressed and despondent.
That is not healthy because it will only add to your stress and make you more anxious. It will also manifest problems in your physical health, especially if you do not feel like eating well or sleeping.
The attitude of gratitude allows you to pause and reflect and gain control of your situation while acknowledging the struggles you are going through. It helps put things into perspective, knowing you have a choice on what to do.
Being grateful also helps you connect with the people who have been there for you during your ordeal. Knowing that someone is helping you and supporting you can help you bounce back faster because you feel cared for.
How to Practice Gratitude to Increase Your Resilience
Being grateful during hard times is not easy, but with regular practice, you can make it a positive habit. Here are a few ways to build your resilience through gratitude.
Think and Reflect Every Day
Over the next week, think of one thing you are grateful to have, one good thing someone did for you, and one nice thing you have done for someone else. Write them down. You can do this anywhere you like, but many people create a gratitude journal, to help them continue with this habit.
Write down a description of how you feel about these things and why you are happy and grateful. To make this more effective, don’t repeat any item you have already written. Instead, you need to think and reflect more deeply, which is how you can build your resilience.
Create a Gratitude Jar
Get an empty transparent jar and cut some small pieces of paper. Post-it notes are also good to use. Every time something good happens to you, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Over time, you will see the jar become filled with good memories, and all these good memories are yours!
When you are feeling down, take out one note or as many as you need from the jar to remind yourself of the good things you are thankful for.
Become More Connected to Yourself
Spend some alone time by yourself. You may like to meditate, whether that is through prayer, reminiscence meditation, or guided meditation. This practice allows you to touch base with your feelings and thoughts and be more connected with yourself.
Think about all the blessings you receive, big and small. Thank the people in your life for bringing the good things into your life.
With reminiscence meditation, you close your eyes and bring yourself back to a time when you were struggling and then slowly bring your thoughts to the present life you have now. Think about how you have managed unfortunate situations and take a moment to celebrate making it through them.
Practicing the attitude of gratitude when you are having a tough time can build your resilience. It rewires your brain to focus on the positive aspects of your life rather than succumbing to negative events.
It puts things into perspective and allows you to accept the harsh realities of life. Yet, it also gives you immense relief and assurance that your struggles will soon pass and that there is more to life that you can be thankful for. So, start being grateful and build your resilience. Make a habit of being a more resilient, stronger you!