Gratitude is powerful stuff.

It keeps the heart open and prevents taking regular blessings and privileges for granted.

Being thankful is easy when things are good. It’s not so easy when things aren’t going as well as we wish, when things like illness or loss or financial difficulties are front and centre.

But it’s at these times that trying to view our lives through the lens of gratitude can be most helpful. We can be reminded that even when unpleasantness looms large, we are still often surrounded by little things that enrich our days.

I’m not talking about false positivity here. When we’re angry, we should feel angry. When we’re sad, we should feel sad. We need to allow space to feel the so-called “negative” emotions, as well. They’re natural and healthy; it’s what we do with them that can cause problems. Letting them consume us creates suffering, but denying them through perpetual rainbows-and-butterflies thinking suppresses them. This is called by-passing and can lead to disproportionate “explosions” or disease later, as well as a constant sense of dis-ease.

I am truly blessed and privileged, and I am in a good place right now. I had a daily gratitude practice on Facebook (#365daysofgratitude), and I feel it’s a good time to reawaken it.

I invite you to join me.

If you’re not on Facebook or are more private than me, I recommend maintaining a gratitude journal. Keep a small notebook and pen next to your bed. Write 1-3 things that you’re thankful for as soon as you wake up, and when you go to bed, write at least 3 things/people/experiences from your day for which you’re grateful. These don’t have to be epic things… the unexpected smell of a flower, the cool caress of a breeze, or perhaps even the ability to get out of bed and start the day at all can lift our spirits. There’s magic in that.