5 Ways of Finding Gratitude That Will Help You Live Your Best Life

Finding Gratitude
Lift yourself out of your self-pity rut and appreciate the joy all around you.
It's easy to feel downtrodden every so often. The economy stinks, you may be unemployed, food prices are rising, and your kids insist on constantly growing out of shoes and clothes. There never seems to be enough time in the day or money in the bank, and the list of things you would like to do if you had the opportunity is longer than the list of things that have to get done first.

It's enough to make anyone depressed after a while, and that's totally understandable. But it's possible to get yourself out of that miserable rut just by changing the way you approach and react to life.
See a Doctor
First, it's important to find out if you're suffering from actual depression, and not just feeling down. True depression is a chemical imbalance that may require medication. Fortunately, it's common enough that most family doctors can diagnose it, so you don't have to spend tons of money to see a psychiatrist if you don't have insurance. If you honestly do have depression, no amount of self-coaching can lift you out of it, if the physical component isn't taken care of first.
woman with doctor
Change Your Perspective
It's way too easy to focus on the bad things that happen and fail to notice the great things that are happening every day. Hate your job? Feel lucky you have one. Kids acting up? Feel lucky that they're healthy enough to run and scream. Raining? Feel lucky you're not in a drought. In a drought? Feel lucky you're not flooded.

There are absolutely more wonderful things happening around you every day than there are bad things. Take the time to notice them, and you'll see your outlook change.
Happy girl
Not Everything is About You
When you get a ticket, burn dinner, gain weight, or get the flu, don't fall into the self-pity trap. Realize that things happen, but they are not specific to you. Not everything is a crisis - they are simply little roadblocks you have to hop over and avoid in the future. So maybe next time you'll obey the speed limit, watch the oven more closely, not pig out every night and wash your hands more. Just take care of the issue and move on, learning your lesson in the process.
Sad woman
Let Go of Perfect
We all have a picture in our heads of what life is 'supposed' to be like. Now think - do you know anyone with that life? No, you don't. Even those who seem perfect on the surface have all kinds of crap of their own going on in places you can't see. Perfect doesn't exist, it's just a fantasy we all use to alternately motivate and torture ourselves. Let go.

Embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, which means that beauty is imperfect and fleeting, but that's what makes it so beautiful. You might see toys strewn about the living room, but you could flip it around and see the evidence of a child's joy. Which view do you think brings more long-term happiness? Is Architectural Digest coming over for a photo shoot tomorrow? No? Then forget the living room and play with your kid.
children playing a game
Simple Pleasures
Go outside and take a deep breath. Smell the fresh air? Feel the breeze on your skin? If you've spent all week cooped up in an office, that can feel like heaven - even if you're just standing on your front porch, looking at your neighbor's overgrown lawn. Instead of getting annoyed that your dog wants to lay on the couch with you, feel honored that this animal, this totally separate species, thinks you're so awesome that he just wants to be near you. Let him up on the couch and feel his warmth as his breathing slowly coordinates with your own.
Girl enjoying a fresh air
Life offers abundant pleasure - all you have to do is wake up to it. It's all around you every day, so don't let another moment go by unnoticed.
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