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Do you ever find yourself stuck in a 'woe-is-me' frame of mind?

'Why is this happening to me?'

'How come I never get what I want?'

You're not alone.

With the events of the current year looking an awful lot like the Swamp of Sadness, it's a challenge to find that joy to keep you from sinking.

Enter gratitude.

Gratitude is an emotion of thankfulness for the things we already have in our lives. Counting your blessings, if you will.

I'll talk a lot about the Law of Attraction(the power of positive/negative thoughts manifesting into reality), and gratitude is right up there at the top of the list.

It is what I struggle with the most and what I'm working hardest to change.

So here's the deal: if you aren't grateful for what you already have, how are you going to create what you want?

A beautiful friend of mine figured this out much faster than I did, and I am so thankful she is in my life to walk beside me down my path.

She always encourages me to find ways to be grateful, especially on the days I'm at my lowest.

For example: I complained about my job, and she reminded me that without it, I would not have been able to buy my house. It didn't make me love my job, but it did help me realize how blessed I was to have it.

I also still sometimes have anger toward my ex-husband because his actions still affected me a solid ten years after our divorce, but without him, I would not have the strength I have today. I am grateful to him for teaching me the importance of loving myself first. Who knew?

Even though I know how important it is to practice gratitude, I still find it difficult to focus on it.

Then I realized I could incorporate it into my daily life with minimal effort and maximum benefits.

First, I found this gorgeous gratitude journal(you don't have to spend extra money to buy a new journal, but I do think it is important to write down your thoughts). It has a buttery soft cover with morning and evening prompts for each day. It takes about two minutes twice a day to complete, and there's something so satisfying about filling in an entire journal front to back.

I've actually incorporated this into my daily meditations, but that's something I'll talk about another time.

One of my favorite practices has been including my daughter in my nighttime gratitude. Each night before bed, we each choose three things we are grateful for and then talk about them. When we first started this about a year ago, she always chose things like toys and playing to be thankful for(which, let's be honest, is a pretty dang good thing to be happy about). Now she incorporates the people she loves in her daily, as we call it, prayer. I know that this practice helps me grow, and now I can see it in her as well.

If you attempt a daily gratitude practice and find that you simply cannot conjure up a single thing to be grateful for, I have some advice for you.

Stop looking outward to find what you need. Go within, and go deep. I'm not saying this is easy. I'm saying that over time, your mentality towards your life will change, and that change will bring about more of what you desire.

Start simple. Some days, the only gratitude I can muster is for my morning cup of coffee. And that's okay, because once I focus on how cozy and welcoming that coffee is, I'm usually able to add more to the list. Even if I don't, that's okay too.

Which brings me to....stop being so hard on yourself. We all spend way too much time beating ourselves up for 'not being enough' or 'not having enough'. We are and have all we need at this exact moment in time. We all have days where we don't want to get out of bed and face the day. THAT'S OKAY. Do it anyway and remember that the next day is always a chance to start again.

If you're struggling still, try going back. Think of something in the past that brought you joy. Imagine a person who lifted you up when you kept falling down. Grab that pen and paper and write a letter to that person thanking them for whatever they did for you. Send it or don't. This is meant to help you in whatever way you need.

The more you practice gratitude, the stronger your mind will feel. The stronger your mind, the stronger your body and soul. We're on our way to happiness, we only need to recognize it!

What are some ways you practice gratitude? What are some of your struggles with it?


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