Personal Development: Feel Grateful

Personal Development: Practice gratitude… even when things don’t go your way, says Karen Northshield.

It’s easy to be grateful when things go your way but difficult to show any sign of acknowledgment or feel grudge when they don’t. But first of all, do you even acknowledge you’re feeling gratitude when you are and should be? That’s the first step. If you don’t come to that realization, it’s difficult then to move forward. 

When you took your summer vacation and holiday period, the sun was out and the air was cool, all reasons to be grateful for, right? All it takes is it to rain on your day off or a visit you had planned to be cancelled, or disorganization in your agenda and your mood could be set off. So how does one remain grateful in times of rain? If you don’t acknowledge you’re being grateful when you have all the reasons to be then it’ll be all the more difficult to find some sense of gratefulness at times of difficulty.

Let’s admit. Life is not easy. Life is not fair. You may be having financial or personal issues, health issues, etc. There is plenty to be upset and worried about. My suggestion is to start with the basics. Start by recognizing the person you are. Start by smiling at yourself in the mirror. What can you see in the mirror that you are grateful for? Start with one thing. Then look out the window and choose something to be grateful for: a tree, a bird, a sun ray. Then move on to your home, what elements give you peace or what elements might you need to pass on to give you space and comfort.

Then the workspace. Which is probably of all the places the most stressful. But in a small way, there are ways to be grateful and it doesn’t necessarily have to come from the outside. Expecting things to happen may never happen. But the grace comes from within. Start by smiling, which is the body’s natural stress relief and plain killer. Offer someone a smile and most likely they will smile back. It’s the law of cause and effect. Then the next step, which is highly likely to be the most challenging, is taking action/doing something about it. Often, when we’re overstressed, we need vacation time.

But even vacations can turn out not to be as planned. We expect freedom, liberty to choose, silence, fun, relaxation. But sometimes it goes in the opposite direction. This all goes the same for vacation time. We’ve all been there, not had a safe travel, had to be put up in a different hotel room, we end up next to noisy kids, the rental car breaks down, things don’t go as planned. In those times it’s important to take a breather. Just take one nice breath of air and look up, the sun just might be smiling. In that instant what more could you ask for? Go back to the basics, just like when you wake up in the morning: wash your face, brush your teeth, those small two steps should feel good already. Then go on from there. Out of two choices you can make, you can always make two choices at any given moment (make coffee or make tea), (take the stairs or the lift), (talk to a colleague or meditate in silence.)

This applies to vacation as well. The power of gratitude when travelling is the power to adjust. Climbers know this, sailors know this. The sailor’s secret is that he adapts his wings to the wind. The climber may have to step down to choose a different rock that would lead to a different road. But the power of gratitude is very strong, the focus should be not only on the end but also in baby steps because it’s those baby steps that lead you there. So, if on your vacation your trip is not going as planned, change the sails. of your course or try on a different pair of shoes. You might end up having fun or even more fun than with the idea you had in mind. Life isn’t easy, but the small things can bring moments of happiness and joy. Those are the moments to cherish.

It’s important to come back to basics when you are feeling in a low spot and find something within or outside of you to become grateful again. What can you do in that given moment to make the positive switch in your mind go on? Sometimes it’s just finding the switch and at times it’s getting the courage to turn it on. Once you find that thought or feeling, keep doing it over and over again until it turns into a trend.