Life has gotten incredibly complicated recently. The Coronavirus Pandemic has taken over our lives. Most of us are living in a locked-down world we never could have imagined. Whether it’s a global crisis or everyday troubles, it can be easy to jump to the conclusion that everything has gone wrong if you aren’t practicing gratitude exercises.
When we fall into these dark places, we might start to think that the negative outweighs the positive. In isolation, it’s common to assume that everything we love and enjoy has been taken away from us. This isn’t true though, there’s still plenty of good in the world, we just have to search a little harder to find it.
People who practice gratitude exercises regularly are better equipped to avoid negative thought spirals. A little positivity and gratitude go a long way towards fighting anxiety and depression. When you focus on the little things that bring you happiness, you’re suddenly able to confront all sorts of sadness.
Gratitude Exercises to Perform When Everything Goes Wrong
I am a huge fan of journaling. I’m pretty convinced journaling can solve almost anything. If you’re feeling like nothing is going right, your first step into gratitude exercises could be through a notebook. The trick to journaling well is to do it in a way that suits your needs. If you’re struggling every day to feel positive, you might want to journal each day until the fog lifts. If you’re just looking to help yourself feel a little happier, you could try once a week.
Journaling makes a great gratitude exercise because it forces you to focus on the good in your life. It also allows you to keep a record of the things you appreciate. On days where you can’t find the light, this is invaluable.
You can journal however you like. It’s totally personal to you. If you like to write, you could really get into the details of your gratitude and what brought it about. If you aren’t so keen, you can write a list. These things can be big moments like a grand gesture from a loved one, or just a minor part of your day, like a smile from a stranger.
2. A Gratitude Jar
Keeping a jar, or even just a small box, is a really simple gratitude exercise to help you focus on the positives. Simply, take your jar or container and decorate it however you like. Keep it somewhere you’ll see it and alongside small slips of paper and pens. When you’re passing by, or when you think of something specific, just write it on the paper and put it in the box.
When you need a boost, you can take a few notes out of the jar and remind yourself of the good in the world. You could also keep the jar going all year, so at the end of December, you have a whole host of happy thoughts to look back on.
3. Gratitude Prompts
It can be hard to practice gratitude in times like these when it feels like everything has gone wrong. When we truly feel like life is at an all-time low, we struggle to see even the smallest moments to be grateful for. Fortunately, not all gratitude exercises involve you working all on your own. A quick search for gratitude worksheets will result in lots of pre-written pages with prompts to guide you.
If a worksheet isn’t your kind of thing, you can also just search for gratitude prompts. They might be based on the people in your life, the rooms in your house, or your senses, for example,
“Today, I am grateful to have seen some baby birds on my morning walk.”
4. Gratitude Moments
If you’d like to keep up the gratitude exercises though the whole day, you could dedicate a few specific times of the day to it. The best times for counting your blessings include when you first wake up, and when you’re about to go to sleep.
When you wake up, note one, or just a few, morning related things you’re grateful for. This could be your comfy bed, the roof you get to sleep under, or the person you get to wake up next to. When you go to sleep, you simply count anything that made you happy or anything you appreciated that day. This will help you drift off to sleep with positive thoughts.
Religious people usually practice gratitude exercises right before they eat every meal. For non-religious people, this could be a great addition to your day, especially when you feel like everything has gone wrong. Before you eat, take a quiet moment for yourself to think of your gratitude for the food you have. You could bring to mind your gratitude for the safe place you get to eat in or the person who made the meal.
Another perfect time to take a moment of gratitude is when you find yourself complaining. When you’re angry at someone, sad or really feeling like everything has gone wrong, switch to gratitude. It’s hard to deny that things aren’t great right now, so instead of telling you to be positive, I’ll tell you to balance out the negative.
When you have one complaint about the world, catch yourself before you spiral and count one thing you’re grateful for.
5. Gratitude Letters
It might seem a little scary to tell others how you feel, but nothing makes people happier than feeling appreciated. If you’re looking for a more direct gratitude exercise, then consider writing a letter to the people you’re grateful for. Especially at times like these, receiving a letter from a loved one really can change an entire day.
A great letter doesn’t have to be beautiful or full of heartfelt words. You only have to tell them a few simple things that make you grateful for them. You might also share a few things they’ve done that you appreciate. This small act of kindness will remind you that there is still so much good in the world and in your life.
The world hasn’t been quite this stressful in a long time. It’s understandable that we’re feeling like everything has gone wrong, but we don’t have to let it consume us. A little gratitude goes an awfully long way. Doing just one gratitude exercise every day, or even once a week could change everything.