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4 ways to be grateful when things aren’t going your way

how to be grateful when things aren't going your way

Some days, it’s harder to be grateful than others.

Life can test you from many angles. While navigating difficult terrain, it’s easy to fall from the happy, positive, grateful person many of us strive to be. And that’s okay. It’s important to honor our feelings and give ourselves time to just be and feel. This is part of authenticity.

However, it’s also important to stay balanced and not let the mind fall into the gutter. Gratitude is an important part of that because no matter how wretched things may seem, there is always something to be grateful for. Even when things go wrong, we can still cultivate that sense of appreciation.


Click through for ways to be grateful when things aren't going your way.


How to be grateful when things get tough:


1. Surrender

When things happen that we’d rather avoid, the natural tendency is to resist. This makes perfect sense. We get injured, wreck our car, or enter into sticky relationship terrain, and our inclination is to steel ourselves against the oncoming difficulties.

But when we stop resisting, we float. We’re able to better flow through the situation, find a solution or figure out how to best manage until the storm clears. It’s only by fully accepting the situation that we can best figure out how to proceed.

Surrender your idea of what you think the experience should be and accept things as they actually are.


Be aware of resistance that masquerades as surrender. In my life for example, excessive positivity is a sure sign that I’m resisting, not accepting.

If my first thought is, “Oh well! I’ll be back on track in no time!” this means that I’m not fully accepting my reality, but instead hoping to gloss over it and return to my ideal life.

But life is not all smooth sailing. Creating a sense of authentic gratitude isn’t about cruising through life’s difficulties. It’s about accepting them and feeling grateful for all the other blessings that still remain.

A great way to surrender and tune in is to meditate. Enter your email below for a free, powerful guided meditation for deep emotional healing.


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2. Count your blessings

Even though things may be going wrong, many things are still going right. Sometimes our biggest blessings are invisible because they’re so seamless and constant in our life that we’re not even aware of their existence.

How about clean running water, electricity, and a cozy house to sleep in? How about loved ones, health, or your big, beautiful heart? Even if your troubles are related to one of these things, perhaps difficulties with a loved one or health problems, there are still many things to be grateful for. You are not alone.


3. Focus on what you can do

Once we fully accept and surrender to our difficulty, we can turn our attention to what we still can do.

For example, my wrist has been injured for the past three weeks or so. It’s impacted my yoga practice and interferes with daily life.

For awhile, I didn’t accept that my wrist was injured. I tried to push through the (mild) pain and consequently prolonged the healing processes. Then, I accepted my injury, and my thoughts became catastrophizing: “Ugh, I’m so weak. I’m always injured. I’m never going to get better.”

Neither of these situations are very helpful.

In reality, I need to honor my body’s need for rest. That requires shifting priorities, focusing on my health instead of advancing my yoga practice or typing for hours on end. That means I get to nurture myself and maybe take it easy for a little, which is actually a good thing.


4. Focus on the big picture. Have faith.

We tend to judge our level of satisfaction by how easily we’re able to get what we want. We’re too quick to give ourselves sole credit for good things, and also for bad things. When unfortunate things happen, we blame ourselves, wonder what we did to deserve it.

When life goes awry, it can feel like an invisible hand is pushing us under water, testing to see how long before we run out of breath.

Realize these trials are not your fault. We’re not being punished. It’s just life. Have faith that your troubles are teaching you patience, compassion and endurance. These are valuable skills. Know that this too shall pass.


How do you stay grateful during trying times? Share your tips in the comments below.

Learn to love your crazy with a powerful meditation.

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Suzanne Heyn is a spiritual advisor and blogger guiding ambitious free spirits to heal their hearts and realize their full potential. She offers transformational online courses and spiritual mentorship to help high achievers create happiness, meaning and fulfillment on all levels.

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