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Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don’t Feel Thankful

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What do you do when you are feeling drained or as if nothing is going right? Whether it is a recent job loss or simply being overwhelmed by the everyday tasks that you have to get done? With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, we are all feeling the effects of being in the house or not having familiar outlets such as traditional church, work, school, and outside activities. Not to mention all of the troubles and worries we once had before are still lurking in the backgrounds of our minds. Many of us are often the person whom everyone comes to in their time of need, but who can we go to when it’s our turn?

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing praises of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

The answer is God. When we are looking for answers or need to refocus on what is important, we should always turn to someone with more wisdom or abilities than we have. Who is a better resource than the Creator and all-knowing?

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

Turning Thoughts Into Thankful Actions
Proverbs 23:7 says, “So a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Inner feelings become thoughts, those thoughts become words, and those words can become actions. If we think negatively then eventually, those negative thoughts will become negative emotions and actions. When we don’t feel thankful, we must be thankful for even the option of having that feeling. This will begin the process of positivity to slowly transform to thankful thinking. We can be thankful for the small things and realize that those small things turn into larger reasons to be thankful. Something as simple as waking up to a new day, having a place to live, and food to eat the night before. There is no limit on what you can be thankful for or how expressing your gratitude should look.

What Does Gratitude Look Like
There is no model for what gratitude should or shouldn’t look like. It is up to every individual person on how he or she will express gratitude. You are not measured based on how you say thank you but simply by being thankful. Children are taught different forms of saying and showing they are thankful at a young age and oftentimes, we do not linger far from these teachings. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we as adults tend to move from expressing our thankfulness and focus more on our own individual accomplishments. This is not the way man was made.

We were created to give thanks in everything and to show rejoicing for positive relations and the abilities to overcome negative ones. Whether we remember to be thankful or not, it is our duty to have thankfulness in our mind, heart, and actions. God does not require a lot from us to show our true spirit of being thankful.

Keep a Journal
Something that can help with the inability to feel thankful is by keeping a journal. It is easier more than ever to have a physical journal, a journal on your laptop, or on a handheld device like a cell phone or tablet. There are many apps and devices that can keep a record of daily written notes which can work as a reminder of everything to be thankful for. Just jotting down a little every morning or evening before bed can go a long way. Keeping this action up can turn into a year’s worth of journaling before you know it. Journaling is also a great tool to look back and think about how much you have changed and what to truly be thankful for.

Being Thankful for Blessings
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

There are over 100 Bible verses with the word blessed or blessing in them. This means that God has called us to be blessed not only during Thanksgiving but throughout the entire year. Thanksgiving is a holiday that was created to bring families together and to think about everything we are thankful for. Family, friends, food, shelter, these are all more than enough to be thankful at this time but we all have individual things to be thankful for as well. When you feel as if you cannot think of what to be thankful for, you can simply close your eyes and think to yourself or speak out loud.

When you have access to simple things, it is easy to take them for granted. The Bible gives us plenty of examples of people losing their sight, hearing, the ability to walk, losing all their fortunes, and even losing family members. These are things that continue to happen today and through all of those things, God’s people still gave him thanks. Just because you might not have as much as someone else or you feel low emotionally, this does not mean you are less blessed. God blesses us in the least expected ways. We have to be open to understanding and remember to give thanks before, through, and after every situation.

Being Thankful for Heartache & Overcoming

Losing a loved one is extremely difficult for anyone but it is also something we can use to be thankful. We can use this time to think about all the good times, look at pictures or videos of family gatherings and events, and even celebrate the lives they once lived. Grief does not have an expiration date but it can cause us to become more and more depressed and fall into a cycle of not being thankful. This is not good for your mental or physical well-being.

Talking to family members or friends can help with finding ideas of what to do when you are not feeling very thankful. We gain valuable insight into what others have done when they have lost someone or how to think positively in a spiritual sense. Reading daily devotionals and blog posts also helps with finding tools to help with expressing gratitude. Praying is not only a traditional way of showing thanks but it is also one of the easiest ways we can do so.

In Everything, Give Thanks
To help with gratitude and thankfulness, pray this prayer with me.

“Lord, thank you for all the many blessings in my life. I am so grateful for the opportunity to pray and to be in my right mind. Thank you for my family and friends and please continue to protect them everyday. Thank you for your word and thank you for your guidance. Please continue to work in me and help me to show how thankful I am everyday. I know that being here is a blessing and I have a high purpose on my life. Please help me to be a blessing to others and to show how thankful I am by serving my community. Amen.”