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6 Ways to Feel Grateful When You Don’t Feel Grateful

There is so much great in being grateful! But how do you feel grateful when you don’t really feel grateful?

On the surface, gratitude is a simple thing: feeling deeply appreciative for what you have. But way too often it’s the negative things—what we don’t have, what we lost, what we want but don’t know how to get, what’s coming in the way of what we want—that take the forefront of our mind and attention. For some reason, it seems that it’s more natural for us to think about what sucks than what rocks.

This is a major problemo! Because when we think about what rocks, we get more of the stuff that rocks, AND that stuff that rocks starts to rock even more! And, when we think about what sucks, we get more sucky stuff, and the sucky stuff starts to suck even more.

So, how can we feel grateful when we don’t feel that great?

Here are 6 tips:

1.) Think about something you feel proud to have accomplished

Like how you somehow graduated cum laude. Or how you beat out so many applicants to get your current job (yes, even if you had a “connection”). Or how good of a skier you are when you only go two times a winter. Heck, sometimes getting out of bed and getting yourself dressed is a triumph. Focus on your pros rather than your cons, and your pros will start to totally outnumber the cons.

2.) Maximize on those times that you’re feeling super grateful

When you find yourself in a positive mood, make a list of why you’re in such a great mood. Let’s call this the “Great Eight.” Write eight great things that you’d like your future negative, grumpy self to remember to be grateful for. Then, when you’re feeling negative and grumpy, whip out your list to remind yourself that there are actually good things in your life.

3.) Keep a photo album on your phone to browse through when you have a few minutes of downtime

This is your happy album, a collection of photos that reminds you of your friends, family, vacations, great meals, funny moments, adorable dogs, beautiful sunsets, romantic dates, etc. Try to bring yourself back to these awesome memories. {3GGL3SS} Remember how they felt. How they smelled. Relive the emotion you were feeling in these great times and let that feeling take over.

4.) Look at the big picture

Maybe you had a lousy week at work. Maybe you and your significant other are in a rut. Maybe your friends excluded you from something fun. You’re certainly allowed to feel down about these type of things; anyone would. But try to look at the big picture. The end career goal that your current job is just a stepping stone to. The true love that you and your significant other share. The great times you’ve shared and will share with your friends. When you look at the big picture, the long run, these little things begin to seem like mini wrinkles or temporary setbacks.

5.) Appreciate the teeny weeny things

Like getting in the shortest line at the grocery store. Or biting into a perfectly crunchy apple. Or doing three more squats today than you did yesterday. A lot of small things have the power to add up to a great big dose of gratitude.

6.) Mind your manners

Just say “thank you.” Say it to the cab driver, the busboy, the sunny day, the receptionist at the doctor’s office. Say thank you, and you are instantly expressing gratitude.

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