I want to put in a word here for something that I think is enormously important: gratitude. It makes an incredible difference in one’s life — especially when you feel the least grateful! When times are tough, and things are going wrong, if you can bring yourself to be grateful for something, a meal, a friend, a pet, a moment, your favorite pair of shoes, or your feet to put in them, it can turn everything around. I know that sounds Pollyanna-ish, and overly simple, but I have found that to be true at the hardest times. Sometimes you really have to struggle to find something to be grateful for, but if you can do it, you may find yourself looking at your problems differently and change your whole mood.
Just like everyone else, I have grumbled my way through the bad times. Financial problems, feeling sick or down, a huge disappointment, a broken romance, a fight with a child, mate or friend. And sometimes the bad stuff hits us in clumps, like a series of one-two punches until you think you can’t even get up again. But if, when that happens, you can bring yourself to think of one thing you’re grateful for, or five, or even ten, you may turn your whole mood or attitude around. And weirdly, when you start to be grateful, the things plaguing you turn around, and good things start to happen. I don’t know why it works that way, but it does. Gratitude brings change.
I recently bought an inspirational book, when I was feeling down. I was sure that it would help solve my problems, and help boost my spirits. Instead of telling me how to solve my own problems, it told me to put my own worries on the shelf, and help someone else. Are you kidding? Did the author have any idea of the miseries I was dealing with? But he was right. A couple of times, I decided to park my own woes, and try to cheer up someone else. And helping them suddenly helped me. It made a difference, and I felt better even though nothing in my life had changed—yet. It became addictive, and got to be fun cheering up other people, even though I had problems of my own. And pretty soon my problems took on a different perspective and didn’t seem so bad. So I think maybe that author was right.
But one thing is for sure and has always worked for me, no matter how down I am, or bad I feel, or how big my problems seem, if I can squeeze out one tiny drop of gratitude, it makes all the difference in the world, and things really do start to turn round. It’s worth a shot, and it’s a lot better than feeling bad. Gratitude really works.