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Navigating Life's Challenges with Thanks

elissa swihart gratitude guided mindfulness megan babcock Nov 20, 2023

Life is this big adventure that keeps changing. Sometimes, it brings incredible moments, like good times with friends or exciting surprises. But other times, it throws tough stuff at us, like when things don't go as planned or when we face challenges. How we handle these moments can shape how we feel. When the going gets tough, being grateful means saying thanks for the good things--paying attention to what's happening now and staying positive can help. It's like having tools in our backpacks to handle the bumpy parts of the journey and make them easier to manage.

Change Is Always Around
Life is like this big book of surprises. Some surprises we see coming, like birthdays or holidays, while others sneak up on us out of the blue, making it challenging to prepare. Whether we're ready for them or not, these surprises teach us so much if we are willing to ask questions and learn from them. They're like puzzle pieces that help us grow and become better at this game called life. Even though some of what we are confronted with seem tricky at first, they're super important because they allow us to develop needed skills and uncover new things about ourselves.

Being Thankful Makes You Stronger
When things get really tough, finding those tiny bright spots, those little glimmers of good, can be like finding little pockets of hope. It's like seeing a tiny light in the dark that helps us keep going. If we only focus on the bad stuff, it can feel like everything's just too much, making us freeze up and feel super stressed. It's like trying to see through really thick fog--we can't see where we're going! But when we find those glimmers, it's like a flashlight guiding us through the fog. It keeps us from feeling overwhelmed and helps us think clearly, learn from the hard stuff, and grow stronger.

Science Says Gratitude Works
Scientists did studies and found something amazing: saying "thank you" can make us feel better inside! It's like a superpower for our feelings. When we're grateful, it's not just about being polite; it actually helps to lower stress and makes us feel tougher when things get complicated. Imagine it's like having a shield that protects us from feeling too stressed out! So, when we're feeling grateful, it's not just a nice thing to do--it's giving yourself strength and making tough times a bit easier to handle.

Ways to Practice Gratitude
1. Make Thankful Reminders: Keep things around that remind you of good stuff, like a thank-you jar or a happy notes board at home.

2. Say Thanks Every Day: Try to think of something you're thankful for each day. It can be small, like a smile or a good meal.

3. Say Thanks Out Loud: Telling others you're thankful for them can make both of you feel good.

4. Write It Down: Keep a journal or a special notebook for good memories. When things are tough, it's a good reminder of better times.

5. Take Breaks from Screens: Spend time with people and enjoy the moment. Screens can distract us from good things around us.

6. Choose Positive Words: Use words that make you feel good. Focus on fixing problems instead of complaining about them.

7. Help Others: Try to help someone else. It feels good to make others happy, too.

8. Use Guided Mindfulness: Integrate mindfulness into your gratitude practice. Being present in the moment enhances your ability to notice and appreciate life's small joys, enriching your overall gratitude. Listen to this week's guided mindful meditation to support yourself in the process. 

Being thankful isn't just a thing to do; it's a way to live. These simple ways can help you feel happier and stronger, even when life gets hard.

Sources:
- [Seven Easy Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude - Cultivate What Matters](https://cultivatewhatmatters.com/blogs/cwm/seven-easy-ways-to-cultivate-a-heart-of-gratitude)
- [Five Ways to Cultivate an "Attitude of Gratitude" - Psychology Today](https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stonewall-strong/202111/five-ways-cultivate-attitude-gratitude)
- [The Importance Of Cultivating A Heart Of Gratitude (And How To Do It)](https://oneexceptionallife.com/heart-of-gratitude/)
- [Seven Ways to Cultivate Gratitude - Mindsoother Therapy Center](https://www.mindsoother.com/blog/seven-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude)

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