My word for 2023 is “gratitude.” Often I catch myself in moments of discontentment or comparison, and that only leaves me joyless. There is so much to be grateful for that can be taken for granted. A roof over my head, a healthy body, a warm bed, never going hungry, a family who loves me, a job where I can learn and help people, my relationship with God, and good friends. These are just a few examples of parts of my life that I am thankful for.
Recently, I have been exploring the idea of how to be grateful when life isn’t going the way I want. I ask myself, “How can I be grateful in the midst of this disappointment?”
Maybe you ask yourself that too. I wish I had a quick and easy answer for us, but I do not. Instead, I can offer some realistic actions and mindsets that I am doing now that have guided me to be more grateful in my daily life.
Gratitude is not about only seeing the blessings in life and ignoring the pain or making the pain lesser than the praise. Gratitude is an outward expression of the inner resilience to operate from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.
According to an article published by Mindful Magazine, benefits of daily gratitude practice include relief of stress and pain, better sleep, strengthen relationships with others, depression relief, quality of life satisfaction, improved self-esteem, strengthens positive recall, deepens resilience in times of adversity, improved mood, more empathy, calm the nervous system and boost immunity, and prompt a desire for generosity and making healthy choices for your body’s nutrition.
5 Practical Ways I am Pursuing Gratitude Daily
- Tithe at church. This is an area I did not prioritize last year, but it is an act of obedience to God to give back a portion of what He has given me. Also, I’ve learned that tithing is a step of faith to trust that God will fulfill His promises. I want to demonstrate maturity in my finances and show that I can manage what God has given me so that I can be trusted with more in the future.
- Start a gratitude journal. At the bottom of every page in my planner is a section to write a gratitude for the day. I love this! It is a way to remember all of the blessings, people, and situations that have positively affected my life. It can also help you look for the light in the day even if it was a hard day. Be specific and observant.
- Say “thank you.” I cannot tell you how many people in work environments who tell me, “No one ever tells me thank you,” or “I feel so unappreciated, do I even matter here?” The simple fix? Verbalize thankfulness when you receive a gift, service, help, etc. It takes humility and an appreciate spirit, and it goes a long way with people. Saying thank you affirms to the other person that you value their effort and time.
- Send “thank you” letters. If you want to take #3 a step further, write a “thank you” letter! I feel like I am one of a few who still write letters, but let me tell you, it is an effort that is timeless. Again, it is a recognition that someone has given you something of value and it matters.
- Focus on what I have instead of what I lack. This is a choice that has the power to have a lasting change to my energy and mindset. I am entitled to nothing. Everything in life is either a lesson or a gift.
How do you pursue gratitude? Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading.
Petit à Petit,
“A Better Me in 2023” message by Elaine Fisher at Gateway Church. This was the first message of the year at my current home church, and it really inspired me to have an attitude of gratitude.
My song for the year: Gratitude by Brandon Lake. Watch and listen here!
How to Practice Gratitude article by Mindful Magazine.