Practicing gratitude when life doesn't go to plan.

December 22, 2015 2 min read

Catherine Bales is a health and wellness coach, Aleenta BARRE student and our SA-based Wellness Coach for our Healthier Me Program. This edited blog is reproduced with her permission from Catherine's website

​I am very blessed to have the life that I do – a loving family, a husband that supports me in all that I do, abundant health and wellbeing, a beautiful community and inner peace and joy.

But I have days when things don’t always go to plan – stuck in traffic jams, late for appointments, payments don’t show up in the mail, a family health or emotional crisis, or those days when I just feel yuck for no apparent reason.

These are the days when I remind myself to practice gratitude. It is easy to be grateful when everything is flowing beautifully, and I am in the flow. It is when I get caught up in the daily dramas of life that gratitude is not so forth coming. In these moments, I remind myself of all of the good things in my world. And as I do this my whole body language shifts. My muscles relax, my face softens and I feel more connected and centred.

Gratitude is like a muscle that has to be practiced everyday. About ten years ago, I decided to keep a gratitude journal for twelve months. Each night before bed, I would write 5 things that I was grateful for that day. There were days when I couldn’t think of a thing. That’s when ‘running hot water’ and ‘a roof over my head’ became my bullet points. But through awareness and presence, I discovered that I had so many things to be grateful for – the shopkeeper who smiled at me, the bluebird on my deck, the abundance of vegetables at the farmers markets.

These moments are with us everyday.

Here is a beautiful poem, reminding us to “be thankful” (Author unknown):
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times,
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes,
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfilment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

From my family to yours, I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas.
May you find moments of joy and gratitude, laughter and fun.
May you find moments to rest, to relax and to recharge.

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