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For some of you who may be going through a hard season, choosing to look for and focus on being grateful can be really hard.  It feels challenging to be able to look past the current circumstances you may be facing to be able to see anything that might be good. It is in those seasons that we need to look for things that we feel are good and we feel grateful for.

Why Should I Look For Something To Be Grateful For?

Choosing to pursue the habit of gratitude can bring positive benefits such as being more present in your daily life, being able to see yourself and others in a more positive light, being more mindful when making choices, seeing more good in the world around us and possibly lessening the fear we may be experiencing.

When I choose to be grateful, I can be present in my life today.

It can be hard to stay present in the moments of our everyday life when we are struggling with hard circumstances and past experiences.  Choosing to stay in the present is not meant to make us try to forget our circumstances or not work through those situations and feelings, but to allow ourselves to look for good and to move into a new day choosing to find something we can be grateful about.  Some days it may be the smallest of things and others may be something bigger. Choosing to allow ourselves to look for and seek something good is the first step in cultivating a habit of gratitude.

Being committed to seeking gratitude helps me support my belief in myself and others.

When we begin to search for the good in our lives, it can help to make us see the good in ourselves and others.  Being able to see those characteristics in ourselves will help us to have stronger self-esteem.  Seeing the good in yourself can also be a strong motivator for working on your own healing and the steps that are needed for the healing journey.  When we are able to see good in others, it will help us to build or work on the relationships we have in our lives.  Being able to see good in ourselves and others is valuable in defeating the negative self-thoughts that we can struggle with at times.

Being grateful helps me to be more mindful of my choices.

Each day most people have many choices to make.  When we are in a hard season, it can be challenging to have the clarity needed to make all of those decisions.  When we are seeking good it can be helpful in allowing us to see there is hope, and by making good choices, we can work towards decisions that are healthy and life-giving.  Many of the choices we make can also be restorative, and seeking good, will help to keep us focused on our healing.

When I choose to focus on gratitude, it helps my mind to see that it is good in the world.

When we struggle with our own life circumstances or experiences, it can be challenging to see outside of our own life.  Choosing to seek good, it allows us the opportunity to have a larger view of what is going on around us.  It can show us that there are many good experiences awaiting us. There are days when we will need to step outside of our own feelings and circumstances to find good, and that is ok.  Keep searching; it is a worthwhile pursuit.

When focusing on choosing gratitude, it is more challenging to feel fearful.

It is difficult for our brain to search for good and feel fear at the exact moment. When we purposely look for the good, we can move past our fear for a few minutes.  It allows you to release what you are feeling and embrace something good.  That embrace will not take away what may be causing your fear, but it allows you to think about something good for a few minutes. The more you seek to find good, the easier it will be to continue to seek and embrace more good.  As you work through what is causing you to be fearful, it will be a needed respite to be able to think about things I am grateful for.

SO….how do I start this journey to choosing gratitude?

This journey starts with asking yourself what was good in your day each day.  This can be as simple as drinking my morning coffee without reheating it three times to a got a close parking spot at the grocery store.  Some days may have multiple good things, and others may feel like it is struggling to find a good thing.  There is no right or wrong way to choose the good things.  They should be personal to you.  Good things should be things that uplift you, make you smile, or make your life better.

Why should I keep a list of the good things?

Something wonderful happens in our memory when we take the time to write down the good we see in our lives.  It helps to retain the thoughts and feelings we have about the good things.  Writing it down helps to make it a more permanent memory.  It brings the good into even more focus and keeps it in our every day life.  It becomes a wonderful legacy that we can look back on in the hard seasons when we are struggling to see good.

How to keep a gratitude journal:

For those who like to write this will be a rewarding task.  Pick a journal that you love and start writing out the good you see.  Describe what the good is, how you feel about it and how it is a positive in your life.  Keep a running writing dialogue and continue to write entries.  You can write daily or every few days. The more often we practice new habits, the more benefit we will see in our lives.

Not a writer…no worries.  You can always bullet point the good you are seeing and keep a running list.  If you try to do this daily you might be surprised how quickly you are able to fill up your journal.

As with any new habit, seeking gratitude will require a new focus and discipline as you seek to see good.  It will require daily effort for you to seek out things that are good.  Once you begin this journey, seeing the good will spur you on as you continue to seek goodness all around you.