On Being Grateful (Even When it’s Hard)

gratitude

Let me begin this post by saying to all of you who may have lost loved ones, lost jobs, been sick yourself, lost faith, or just generally had your life become a shit-show in the last 8 months, I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what you’ve experienced. Even though 2020 may have been one of the most stressful years of our lives, I’d like to offer up the possibility that there are still things to be grateful for. Keep in mind; I do not want to come off as “Pollyanna” with this blog post. I want to share my thoughts in the hope that you might reframe your thinking in a more positive way as you’re able. 

Finding Gratitude in Our Daily Life

Gratitude is defined as a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, both tangible and intangible. Gratitude helps us tap into a bigger force because we realize the gift comes from something outside of ourselves. It teaches us to focus on the present rather than the past or the future. To find beauty in the small joys; just merely being grateful for life. No matter what your situation has been in 2020, there are still things to be grateful for.

I recently returned from a trip to Africa. Yes, in the middle of a pandemic. I was blessed to visit Rwanda and Kenya. Rwanda is a very small country where, in 1994, there was a horrible genocide. Neighbors killing neighbors. Hundreds of thousands dead. Complete destruction. And yet, out of this has arisen a country of resilient, grateful people who are rebuilding all that was lost and forgiving the killers as part of healing this tragedy. They will never get their loved ones back, but there is a sense of community and happiness that I did not expect to experience at all given some of the stories I’ve heard. They have a vision for what will be. 

Mindset is a Choice

Choosing gratitude in the face of really difficult times is for you and others. When you choose to have a mindset of gratitude and express appreciation, you choose to relate to others, practice empathy, and demonstrate kindness to yourself and others. AND you reduce your level of stress! So, instead of focusing on this pandemic’s negative aspects, what if we shifted our thinking to a more positive, powerful perspective? By choosing to look at benefits such as slowing down or spending more time with those closest to us, we begin to see the pandemic in a different light. And yes, we can ALL still want it to be over ASAP

So, Savvy Sisters, how do we do this? It’s not so hard. Here are some of my favorite ways to practice gratitude.

5 Ways to Develop a Gratitude Mindset 

  1. Start a gratitude journal. Once a day, maybe with coffee in the morning, take time to focus on what you are genuinely thankful for. If the thought of sitting down and writing makes you want to head for the hills, start small. Make a gratitude jar. Fill it with small slips of paper over the month. At the end of the month, empty the jar and read it with your family. This is an easy activity for kiddos to participate in as well.
  2. Do something kind for someone else. Send an e-card, or even better, snail mail. Everyone likes to know that someone is thinking of them. So simple, yet so sweet.
  3. Literally, count your blessings. Make a list, starting with three things daily. Play a game using the alphabet to guide you. For example, on the first day, choose three things that began with A, B, and C.
  4. Fake it until you make it. Mindset change is not something that comes automatically to all people. The most important thing is to try. At first, it might feel awkward, but similar to other healthy habits; you will feel better once you do it. Then, after a while, it will be second nature.
  5. Thank others. Gratitude is different from praise. Praise is dependent on opinion or evaluation of someone’s actions. Gratitude, on the other hand, is a pure and authentic expression of appreciation.

If you’re ready to feel more positive in everyday life, pick one of the tips above and give it a try. You get more of what you focus on, and honestly, what do you have to lose? Positivity begets positivity, so why not begin a wave of powerful connection that begins with the simple act of gratitude. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and know that I am grateful for YOU!


Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.

Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultations. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-talk. 

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