How To Practice Gratitude Even When Life Is Hard

Life is challenging at times, making it difficult if not impossible to be grateful for what you have. You have to remember the good things so that all the bad that you deal with doesn’t become a huge cloud blocking out all the sunshine altogether. Here’s how you can practice gratitude even on your very worst days – trust me, it’s easier than you think once you get in the habit.

  1. Compliment yourself. If you truly think about it, a simple compliment can go a long way. When your bestie is down because she had a rough day at the office, you’re probably in her ear telling her how brilliant she is. Do the same for yourself. This way, when things do get you down, you can take your mind to a place where you’re grateful for your good traits.
  2. Try to find a lesson in the madness. When something doesn’t work out, look at it as a learning experience rather than a failure. Every single fall you take is an opportunity to take stock of how you did things and practice a different approach next time. Learn the lesson you need to and move on.
  3. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Sometimes to be grateful for what you do have, it can help to give back to those who have less than you. This isn’t to say that you need to feel bad for someone else or that your feelings don’t matter because someone has it worse, but if you’re able to give back, it might just give you the mood boost you need to remember how good you have it.
  4. Count your blessings. You could be going through the worst period of your life and still have something to be grateful for. You just have to figure out what that thing is. As the old saying goes, it could always be worse. Look for the silver lining in every cloud.
  5. Find joy wherever you can. I saw in a movie once that showed that the ancient Egyptians believed that to get into heaven, you would have to find joy in your life and bring joy to others. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I do know that giving joy or being able to find it can help you feel better about your situation no matter how bad it is.
  6. Baby steps are your best friend. No one is going to be perfectly anything all of the time but they can take minor steps in the right direction. Practicing gratitude can be done through a simple series of small changes for the better. This way, you can lay your head on your pillow at the end of every day and be thankful that you tried to improve things.
  7. Give yourself a break. If there is a day, or even many days in a row, where you can’t make any steps towards the betterment of your situation, let it go. Giving yourself a hard time for not being able to handle stressful things isn’t going to make you any less stressed out. We’re all human and sometimes stress gets the best of us.
  8. Look for the beauty in everything. Things suck sometimes – there’s no getting around that. But oftentimes, there’s beauty in the destruction if you just seek it out. Maybe you can’t stand the winter, but how pretty is the snow when it’s calmly falling? Look for something beautiful in every situation and you’ll be more grateful for the experience even if it’s terrible.
  9. Let go of harbored hate. Hate is poison for the soul. If you can’t get over something someone did to you or your hateful feelings towards something, you need to figure out how to ASAP. There’s nothing more detrimental to gratitude than being full of hate for your life or the world you live in.
  10. Be kind. It can be easy to walk around in a bad mood because nothing is going your way, but sometimes the easy route isn’t the right one. Be kind to everyone and anyone you can and watch your life—and your ability to be grateful for it—improve.
  11. Do what’s best for you. You’ll never be able to be grateful for your life if you’re not living the one you truly want to live. Being authentic to your wants and needs will bring you to a level of gratitude you’ve never experienced before because of the sole fact you’ll be able to appreciate all you do for yourself. Don’t let anyone create your life for you.
Angelica Bottaro has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Trent University and an Advanced Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College. She began her career as a freelance writer in 2014, racking up bylines in The Good Men Project, MakeWell, LymeTime, YouQueen, and more. She eventually shifted her focus and began writing about mental health, nutrition, and chronic disease for VeryWell Health.

You can follow her on Facebook or check out her website at She also posts on Instagram @a.ct._b and Twitter @angiiebee.