The key to cultivating gratitude is doing work today, and then doing work again tomorrow. On a great day it is simple to remember what’s good and right in front of you; like a scrumptious cup of coffee. Just think of how it got to you, the store that made it available, the people that toasted the seeds, and even the Ethiopian farmer that noticed the effects of coffee beans in his animals hundreds of years ago. During bad days, practicing gratitude becomes harder, because on top of life’s challenges there is hesitation, complexity, nuances, and the news, which, when combined, leave you feeling overwhelmed…you can’t do the work. Your daily routine has failed and you can’t think about rewards.
Gratitude has become a trendy subject– memes and tips refresh your inbox with insights from articles, books, science, and experts, all coming to your rescue. I have tried different methods and a few gratitude challenges. I found that working on my own through praying or meditation is easier than involving others. When expressing gratitude to others, I noticed that strangers are more receptive than people who are close to me. Gratitude makes them uncomfortable. A few friends think that it is a weird game, while others think that there is something wrong with me, and some family members can’t understand why I’m grateful for them. (Really? really).
When I think of it, I realize its hard work to look people in the eye and say how grateful you are for them. But don’t force it; try to think of it as a simple, everyday task– like opening your front door. Then, each day the house seems brighter. You don’t notice because it happens slowly. One day the house feels so big with sunshine all over the place, it’s like you’re outside. Gratefulness is a powerful habit and there are thousands of gratitude formulas that can work for you. Do your work, and when you find your gratitude, do it again – that’s the key.