How to Feel Gratitude After a Disastrous Year

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Enjoy this informative guest post by nationally recognized life strategist, Randi Levin.

The #1 secret to understanding and effectively living a grateful life is in your acceptance that gratitude is not a one-and-done fleeting thought fueled by Thanksgiving. Instead, it is an actual state of mind and a lifestyle habit that exists in your daily life, unrelated to whether you have had the best or the most disastrous year.

This may seem difficult, yet a mindfulness practice of gratitude is rich in rewards, costs you nothing to develop, and keeps fears and energy in check. The overall benefits to your physical and mental health are sound. Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at UC Davis, is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is the author of the book Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. His findings are based on studies and research done around the globe revealing that happiness levels increase by approximately 25% when we practice gratitude!

We essentially train ourselves to reset to a thankful ‘set-point’ allowing ourselves to feel good even when things are not going our way. Dr. Emmons further points out that those who are appreciative tend to have stronger immune systems, are more creative, and may even have closer relationships. Listen to his point of view and amazing tips on how to feel gratitude in the video below or got go the link here.

Dr. Robert Emmons of UC Davis talks about Gratitude from Character Lab on Vimeo.

Have you ever longed to have more balance in your life? You may have noticed that life does not play out in a straight line! There are curves everywhere! Some years are more abundant and joyful than others.

Cultivating an active gratitude practice is the link to balancing the good and the bad, the highlights and the low points, and is a great connector to the gaps in evaluating your own sense of purpose. When you are thankful, you make decisions from your heart and your mind, working together in life-balance and accountability.

Here are 3 essential benefits and action steps of thinking thankful:

  • You fear ‘less.’ Gratitude bypasses fear. When you focus on what you are appreciative of, it becomes difficult to let negative thoughts in. Think about gratitude as a lamp that is turned on in a dark room. When you flip the switch, you shine a light on that which was previously scary, allowing you to take a small step toward a larger goal.

    Try this now: Write yourself a permission slip to do something that previously intimidated you. Then write down all the things that stopped you from doing this one thing before. Say them aloud; dump them in front of the mirror. Now that your fears and limiting beliefs are aired, rewrite that list as if you successfully completed what previously held you back. Now say this new list out loud. See the shift? Great…now what part of this fear can you bypass today?

  • You take action in the NOW. A gratitude attitude grounds you in today and allows you to control not only the moment but also yourself within it. This opens up opportunities and choices that are closed to us when our focus is only on tomorrow’s goals or yesterday’s failures. When you are focused on today, your energy soars.

    Try this now: Create a success jar or a success wall to post your daily successes. Yes, DAILY successes. If you are reaching for resolutions, promises, or goals, what often happens is that in your quest for the finish line you miss the process that led you there. Keeping a jar, or accessible wall filled with small notes about even the tiniest things that went right in your day keeps you mindful of your own growth and success and along with that your gratitude. Review your notes weekly or monthly, when strung together they will begin to weave a tapestry of positive reinforcement and abundance.

  • Manifest into your life what you most desire: You attract what you want because you are focused on the possibilities in your life rather than on the limitations. It is common to feel small and limited when you have had a run of failed results. Yet this is the stuff that resiliency is made of. We need resiliency and flexibility as part of our stories. Sometimes figuring out what you don’t want supports you in understanding what you do.

    Try this now: Reclaim your bucket list! Your new abundant thoughts can help you to pivot toward the things you most want to achieve this year! What shifts if you simply change the vessel? Instead of a large, amorphous bucket, keep your list in a beautiful box or glass bowl. Bring it down to the items that you really want to welcome in. Now…here is where the fun begins! What can you do RIGHT NOW in regard to each and every item on this list?

    We don’t always hit our goals because they are too large and abstract. If you take the opportunity now to decide on your first action step for each one this list comes to life! Here is an example: Your bucket list says that you want to travel the world. Yet, you have little cash and time. What can you do? Where can you combine a business trip and a pleasure trip? Do you know anyone who lives in a city or at a beach that you have wanted to visit? See where this changes the action steps?

    Now, book that trip! Begin.

“Gratitude is the soul of balance, realigning all aspects of your life.” ~ Randi Levin

A Bonus Step To BEGIN TODAY:

Many people love to keep gratitude journals to record their thoughts and activities. While I support this idea, I don’t like how often our words just remain on the page and never make it into real life! What I love instead is a 365-day in-action approach to feel gratitude that you can begin today!

START THIS NOW: Every day, for a year mindfully reach out to one person, one business, one old friend, one ex-lover, your mom, somebody you have not spoken to in years, or one burned bridge and share your gratitude with them! In your email, phone call, or text you are going to express why you are thankful that they are, or were in your life. You are going to shed light on what they have brought into your life, why you support this business, or what you appreciate the most about the lessons you learned from an old friend or ex-lover!

When you share these thoughts, be present about how this makes you feel. Are you happy, angry, sad, or overjoyed? Is this freeing you to do more in your day, to take forward action, to reach for more? Are you more mindful of your current energy and are you using that energy to create a better you and a more stellar future?

Related Reading: How Delaying Gratification Results in Remarkable Success

Think about your conversations with those you have thanked. How have they responded?  How is this changing your every day, and shaping and reframing your perspectives? Are you manifesting new enriched opportunities and connections?

Now, take this one step further! Once a quarter, reach out in person. Write and read a letter of gratitude to someone in your life. Savor the moment. What are you feeling? How are they responding? How is your life enhanced or changed by this experience?

What can you do now?

What can you do next?

How to Feel Gratitude After a Disastrous Year will help you develop a positive attitude throughout the tough times.  If your goal is to be happier and healthier, read this inspirational article.
Randi Levin is a nationally recognized transitional life strategist, author, keynote, and reinvention expert. Randi Levin Coaching supports women in becoming legends in their own lives! She is a featured expert for HuffPost, Thrive Global, DivorceForce, The Three Tomatoes, Women for One, and Better After 50. Her workshops have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and you may have seen her in Reader’s Digest, Business Insider, and Working Mother Magazine. Randi is a contributing author of the anthology series Get RESULTS!

4 COMMENTS

  1. I love this. Your outlook on life has a lot to do with where you end up in my opinion. Having a positive outlook has changed my whole life.

    • Rena…it is where your energy is! If you are investing in gratitude and in TODAY then you are using what you have to use and controlling and redirecting what you can. When your energy is in the past or only focused on goals and the finish line you live life always searching and never present.

  2. Great ideas, last year was so hard for me, I almost died November of 2016 and spent last year surviving, just surviving. Survivors guilt and concern it would happen again ( I had an aortic dissection 20% survivor rate) I will incorporate these ideas for 2018
    Which is a year to improve my eating and exercise skills. Thank you

    • Donna- While I am sad to hear that you had a tough year health wise…I am so glad that you ready to move forward with the grit and tenacity that such a harrowing experience provides. Thrilled that you liked the article and that you will be able to make it your own with renewed action steps in 2018. Thank you for reaching out and best of health. Wishing you magnificent in-the-moment opportunities to manifest the life you most want TODAY. Clearly not a dress rehearsal!

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