It’s easy to give thanks when your day is going well. You’re wearing your favourite t-shirt. You got a great parking spot. Your latte is the perfect temperature with just the right mix of espresso shot and milk foam. You get lots of likes on the selfie you posted to Instagram.
But what about those moments when things aren’t going so well? You spill your coffee on your jeans. You have to wait in a long line of customers at the bank or grocery store. You realise the battery in your smartphone is dead.
Giving thanks is crucial. In moments like these, giving thanks is difficult. But giving thanks is also essential if you want to navigate these experiences with a positive outlook. This doesn’t mean being phony or pasting on a smile no matter what.
Good for your health
Yes, thankfulness isn't always easy but it's a great attitude to develop. It's also been found to be good for you. It boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure (understandably), makes you more optimistic and produces more resilience.
Take a breath and shift your focus. It’s about taking a moment to reassess and shift your focus. Instead of grumbling about the long line of customers, thank God for the cashier and pray for her family. When your smartphone needs a charge, thank God for all of the amazing technology you have access to.
Choose to turn the uncomfortable moments in life into thankfulness.
But how? What practical ways will contribute to an attitude of gratitude?
1. First, your health does affect your outlook.
If you're overtired or unwell, you will react quickly and without thinking. So.. get plenty of sleep. Exercise! It's been shown to improve your physical and mental health. Drink plenty of water and.. focus on a healthy diet, not fast food.
2. Begin each day with prayer.
Despite your best intentions, it's so easy to be derailed by difficulties, frustrations and, sometimes, the unpleasantness of others. But nothing surprises God. He knows what you'll have to deal with. And He will help you successfully navigate whatever is ahead of you throughout the day.
God, when I’m tempted to complain and grumble, help to stop and shift my focus. I want to be someone who lives in continual gratitude. Let me never lose sight of the blessings You’ve poured out on me.
3. Start your day by noting at least 3 good things
List the things you appreciate and can be thankful for today. If you include your kids in this daily activity, you'll encourage them to be more thankful, too.
(Look out for the upcoming article about teaching your kids to be thankful.)
4. Say 'thank you' to your partner and kids.
Use any opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate them. While it will encourage you to be more grateful of your family, it will also encourage your family and build them up.
5. Start a gratitude journal
Spending some time writing about your day and including details about those things for which you're grateful will inspire you to further develop a thankful attitude. You can use a hardcopy daily journal or take advantage of technology.
There are plenty of journal apps, as well as gratitude journals. Or, try an app like 365 Gratitude. This app presents you with daily inspirational questions and helps you to stay motivated. It tracks your moods and encourages you to journal about your day.
What about the app, Grateful- a grateful journal... or Uplifter app? Check out the overview below.
6. Send thank you notes.
Thinking of others rather than yourself can trigger a strong sense of gratitude. And think about how encouraging and helpful for others to receive a note of appreciation from you. Become a VIP member (free) and download your free gratitude cards to keep as a daily reminder or give to others.
7. Get a gratitude buddy.
Find someone who can encourage you to be more thankful and hold you accountable. (Don't forget, it goes both ways.)
If you're interested in learning more and growing an ongoing attitude of gratitude, watch for the Gratitude Challenge.. coming soon!
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.