Tag Archives: gratitude

Finding Gratitude Even in Hard Times

We’re all occasionally guilty of going through our days with blinders on, not noticing the beauty of our surroundings or the blessings we have. I’m trying to improve myself and my outlook on things, so I decided to really think about this subject and try to figure it out and maybe help others with it in the process.

Why is Gratitude so Hard to Find?

Why is it so hard to find gratitude in our lives? I’m not sure, unless we’re just so busy living that we don’t take the time to think about the wonders all around us. Or maybe dealing with pressures, hard times, and negative people have conditioned us to only be aware of the negatives in our lives.

It can be hard to feel gratitude when you’re down or when life is handing you lemons. At times it seems that forces are against us and we’ll never get out from under our troubles. So is there a way to find the joy in life? To begin to realize what we actually have to be grateful for?

This subject reminds me of a book written by Erma Bombeck, titled “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?” 🙂 I just bought it for my Kindle app from Amazon but haven’t given it a fresh read yet. It was written in 1978, but I’m sure that Erma’s humorous outlook on life will still resonate. She was always able to laugh at life. Maybe she can teach me a few lessons.

Ways to be Mindful & Find Gratitude Again

My feeling is that we need to start being mindful-take time each day to stop and smell the roses. Easier said than done, you say? I agree, but I’m going to make a commitment to do these exercises daily to get me to that place:

  1. Recall the events of the day. Think about the small and large moments. That person you smiled and said hello to at the post office? He could have been having a rotten day and you may have been a blessing to him. The photo of your grandchild posted on Facebook that lights your face up. Opening your eyes in the morning. All too often we take these moments for granted. We need to savor these moments and be grateful for them.
  2. Start a gratitude journal. Write three things you are grateful for each day and really think about what these things mean to you and your family.
  3. Look for the positive in every bad situation. I know from experience that something good can come of any bad occurrence. I want to start being aware of the positives.
  4. Find and refer frequently to inspirational blogs/websites and quotes. The other day I was down and opened up my phone’s photo gallery. And there was a quote I had saved. Talk about being hit over the head. I’ve included it below:finding gratitude

Conclusion

To find gratitude we must try to be more aware of the good things in life. We’re all going to get into a slump occasionally. But remember that every day is a gift. Everything has a time and a purpose even if we don’t realize or understand it at the time. If we can make the most of our lives, savor the moments, and work on being grateful we can find joy.

I hope I can succeed with this commitment. There are going to be good days and bad days no matter what we do, but my wish is that I can rise above a lot of the negative I hold on to and that this post may bless and help someone else.

How to Get Through a Slump

Do you ever get in a slump? I sure do, more often than I’d like to admit. There are different types of slumps: afternoon, creative, and just general depressive slumps.

Of course, an afternoon slump sucks, but you get through it pretty easily by eating a healthy snack or taking a walk. Other types of slumps generally take longer to get through than just an hour or two.depressive slump

If you’re not just having a setback, but a recurring problem with depression, please seek professional help. Depression can be so debilitating.

Getting into a Slump

Does any of this sound familiar? You’ve decided to try something new and are having trouble learning the ropes or everything you try seems to fail. You try to consider others’ feelings but no one takes you seriously or considers how you might feel. You’re not bringing in the kind of money you thought you would at this point in your life. You don’t feel appreciated. And so on.

My latest slump was last week and the week before. I’ve had to make a decision about going back to work. I really don’t want to. I love being home in the mornings, getting my honey off to work, and then doing my data entry and writing. I’m trying so hard to be successful in life on my own terms and sometimes it feels like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall.

Once I decided to go back to work, which will probably happen next month, I immediately stopped trying with my other online income sources. I felt like what’s the point, everything I try fails anyway. I totally lost my motivation and started taking naps during the day. Once I realized what was going on I decided to try to straighten up and accept my decision. I have been doing much better since.

This led me to start reading blogs about other peoples’ slumps, which led me to write this post. Chris McCombs’ post was quite interesting. I’m no expert but I think I do have some insight about depression and creative slumps.

Why do we allow this to happen?

When things aren’t going as expected, I think we tend to forget what we have going for us in our lives and focus on the bad areas. We allow ourselves to get down, feel like a failure, stop trying, etc. Many times we don’t even realize the road we’re heading down until we’ve been down it for a while. It just seems to happen unawares.

To understand how and why we allow ourselves to get into a slump, we have to really search the situation and our emotions. The following are some reasons I have come up with as to why this happens:

  • We don’t realize that we can learn from our losses as well as our successes.
  • We don’t expect enough from ourselves and give up too easily. When things don’t go as expected or as we hoped we automatically feel like a failure. Lack of confidence is a huge problem for many of us.
  • We expect too much from ourselves and set ourselves up to lose. We want instant success, and when we don’t attain it, we become discouraged.
  • We want to be recognized for our efforts and successes and when we don’t receive this acceptance we become depressed.

These are just a few examples of how we allow a slump to take form and control our lives. If we let it, this lack of confidence and feelings of non-acceptance becomes a trend and our self-esteem takes a huge hit. But there are ways to help get through a slump and sometimes avoid allowing our negative feelings from entering.

How to get Through or Avoid a Slump

There’s no way to always avoid a slump. It’s going to happen, but maybe we can control the length and depth of occasional crashes. I realize it can be very difficult to overcome, but here are some suggestions that I hope will help you through or to avoid a slump altogether:

  • Make a plan. Writing lists helps me immensely. It gets my thoughts on paper and out of my mind. It allows me to get perspective on what exactly I’m trying to accomplish and what steps I need to take to get there.
  • Make a backup plan. Understand that your first plan may not help you achieve your goal and you’ll have to make changes.
  • Remember that this is a learning period and you’re not a failure. You’re a work in progress.learning period
  • Be one with nature. Go to a peaceful place and be aware of what’s around you. Take notes and pictures. Seeing the beauty of the world can really help put things in perspective and give you a fresh outlook.
  • Look up inspirational quotes and put them on sticky notes all over the place. Try to find inspiration and beauty everywhere you look.
  • Help others and you will be an inspiration to each other. When we’re able to help someone else I think it helps us to see that we have worth and it shows them that they have worth as well.
  • Meditate or pray.
  • Put a smile on your face. Easier said than done, right? For a long time I forgot about this one. I used to always say “fake it til you make it” and smile even when I wasn’t feeling it. And it did help. I would eventually really feel happy. This is something I need to work on again.
  • Remember that an occasional slump is normal and will pass. Don’t allow it to take over your daily life.
  • Avoid negative people and situations when possible. Negative people will feed off of your negativity and it will make you feel worse. Happy people can be contagious as well.
  • Start a grateful journal, listing all the things that are good in your life.

Speaking of Being Grateful

I know the tips above are hard to incorporate into your life, especially when you’re in a slump. I struggle with them myself. In an effort to improve my attitude, I wrote a post about finding gratitude. I hope it helps.

If you are really trying to accomplish something in your life, even if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s not a failure. It’s a time for you to learn what does and doesn’t work, learn more about yourself, and maybe even begin to search for your purpose. These are not bad, they are character-building. Remember that there’s going to be ups and downs in life and that happiness is a choice.

Have any of these suggestions helped you? Please let me know.