I have a confession to make… stress makes me cranky! And when I get cranky, I tend to forget all the good things that are going on in my life. And when I forget about what’s going well, I become ungrateful.
These last few months have been very stressful for me. There are many things going on in my life that concern me and cause anxiety. So, I’ve had to learn how to pull back from those stressful things and refocus my thoughts on God and all He has done for me.
One way I do that is to try to cultivate gratitude in my everyday life. This is not always easy to do when I’m overwhelmed with stress. However, it has certainly made a difference in my life and stress levels.
Here are three things I’m trying to do to cultivate gratitude in my life. Maybe they will help you, too.
Keep a gratitude journal
I have used a gratitude journal since last year. Each night before I go to bed, I write down three things for which I am thankful. Sometimes it’s really hard to come up with three. However, if I let the Lord lead my thoughts, He usually reminds me of how much I have to be grateful for.
One other way the gratitude journal has helped me is when I look back and review the ways God has been at work in my life. Seeing His faithfulness helps me in my present circumstances when they seem overwhelming.
Be careful of what you say
Words have power. They can bring life or death to any situation. If I am grumbling, I’m not helping anyone, and I’m certainly not bringing glory to God in that situation.
Positive words lift people up. Negative words just make things worse. I’m trying hard to think before I speak to make sure what I have to say is worth hearing by someone else.
Write thank you notes
I love to get cards and handwritten notes in the mail. Unfortunately, due to the speed of the internet, receiving personal mail seems to be fading away.
Writing thank you notes to those who have blessed your life is such an easy way to cultivate gratitude. If you have trouble thinking about who you should send a thank you note to, think about who has blessed your life lately. Your children’s teachers and people who have impacted your life are two groups of people that would love a thank you note. Just think how your note could bless and encourage someone today.