When I was growing up, we did math problems. Did you ever practice path problems? (Probably not… I know that’s a really unique experience.)
So we all practiced math problems to get better at addition, subtraction, long division, yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes we would practice with flashcards, sometimes on paper, sometimes out loud with other people. We practiced with counting blocks or those little plastic bears or marshmallows and if we were lucky we’d get to eat the remainders. The point is… we practiced a lot… and in a ton of different ways. Spoiler alert: that practice paid off. To this day, if I ask you what is five multiplied by five is, you’ll likely answer 25 without thinking. It’s automatic. You just know.
We practice and practice and then it becomes second nature. That’s math, and walking, and learning how to work an iPhone…
and that’s how we learn everything (“…and why is this guy spending so much time talking about learning basic math? Get on with it buddy!”)
Right. So here’s the point: Gratitude is the same way.
You can practice gratitude in all situations, but it is a practice. So here’s an exercise to get better at gratitude. Work on a gratitude problem.
A gratitude problem is any situation that causes you discomfort or displeasure. Think of any situation that makes you uncomfortable. Write that down. Now make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for that came about because of, or in response to, that negative situation. You can get 10. From any situation.
Most people stop here (non-believers certainly do.) Don’t stop there.
Finish it the way the scriptures call you to: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving (gratitude) let your requests be made known to God.”