How to Practice Gratitude When You Don’t Feel Like It

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Holidays can be a tough time—between grappling with expectations of family and friends, all of the activities that inevitably come our way, and the weather making it hard to get outside and get exercise and sunshine, the darker days can also bring darker moods, too.

First, don’t judge yourself or anyone else for not feeling grateful or happy. When we judge ourselves, we don’t give ourselves space and grace to feel the emotion. Trapped emotions can cause more emotional and physical pressure, so allow yourself to feel the emotion and not judge it.

But it doesn’t end there.

Just like everything else in life, we can practice being grateful without feeling emotionally joyful or even particularly thankful at the moment.

In other words, being grateful is a choice.

What we choose to focus on in our mind can soon part the clouds in our mind and at least show us hope and a ray of light on a hard day. When you’re feeling grumpy or less than grateful, you can intentionally “flip” this emotion by giving out a smile, an encouraging word, or thoughtful message. You’d be surprised that what you give out often comes back in ways you don’t expect.

How do you practice gratefulness? Tell us in the comments below.