If you didn’t have trials in your life, you wouldn’t be human. Even in the best of circumstances, adversity can almost break you. In the darkest hours of your soul, you must be grateful. It can be the spark of light you need.

How Can You be Grateful When You’re Hurting?

No, you’re not a martyr, nor do you want your life to be destroyed for the greater good. It even may seem ridiculous to think that you can be thankful for your trials. However, your perspective may change once you see the relationship between gratitude and adversity.

be grateful

Your Attitude Makes a Difference

Have you ever been around someone so pessimistic they bring you down? Whether the weather has been sunny for six days, this negative person is griping about the one rainy day out of the week. They whine for hours with their tragic stories of pain and misery.

Consider another person you know who’s also experiencing loss or significant difficulties. They may not be cheering or throwing confetti, but their conversation isn’t stuck in their situation. Even in their tears, they have an attitude of gratitude that inspires you and everyone around them.

Let’s face it. There will always be events and circumstances beyond your control. The more you fight them, the more they come crashing into your life. You only have true peace when you accept that you can’t manage negative people.

Although you can’t control these things, you can manage your attitude. You can learn how to develop a spirit of gratitude that transcends temporary trials and tribulations. It may be the thing that brings you over to the other side.

Ways to Stand in Life’s Storms

Are you going through a time of loss and other difficulties? You may feel lost, abandoned, and have nowhere else to turn. The good news is that you have a Higher Power that will anchor you in the roughest storm.

Those waves of pain and gales of hopelessness are natural. However, looking back at your past victories makes you grateful and builds your faith in the present. These are ten ways that gratitude can help amid trials.

1. Practice the Language of Gratitude

Words carry immense power, and they can promote healing or destruction. Have you ever noticed how you feel when you use grateful words? They can strengthen your spirit, even during adverse times, when they come from your heart.

Most of these are some of the first words that youngsters learn. Unfortunately, many adults forget them at times. Appreciative words like please, thank you, and the oft-forgotten “you’re welcome.” When you’re in the habit of using the language of gratitude, the spirit of the words comes naturally.

2. Change Your Perspective

When your life is overwhelmed with problems, it can be too easy to focus on negativity. This phenomenon is called negativity bias, explained in an article published by the National Library of Medicine. The human tendency to focus on a bit of negativity regardless of the positivity outweighs it.

That’s not to say you should minimize your pain. However, changing the perspective of your situation may offer you more clarity. You’re grateful when you see blessings in the rain that you didn’t realize were there when the sun was shining in your life.

3. Keep a Written Testimony

Revelation 12:11 states that you can overcome by the word of your testimony. A testimony is a verbal or written account of expertise or something you’ve witnessed. In this case, you are counting your blessings and the victories over problems you’ve experienced.

It builds your confidence when you share these uplifting stories with others. Plus, keeping a gratitude journal preserves them for later. Consider writing a continuing list of things for which you’re grateful.

Feeling defeated, you can reflect on some of your journal’s previous entries. They are a written testimony of your resilience and your Higher Power. If you overcame adversity in the past, you could do it again.

4. Practice Empathy

When you can feel empathetic to another person, it can enhance your ability to be grateful. These virtues benefit you just as much as they help others in your life.

Often, adversity locks you in your mind, and your thinking stays internal. However, when you shift your focus, you’re more aware of how other people may be feeling. When you consider other folk’s hardships, yours may seem less harmful, and you can be grateful for your life.


5. Put It to Music

Perhaps author Joan Walsh Anglund said it best when she said caged birds sing because they have a song, not an answer. Likewise, you don’t understand why you experience adversity. However, gratitude is the song in your heart regardless of circumstances.

There’s something magical about music that calms your heart and soothes your spirit. When you’ve had a bad day or rough times, listening to your favorite tunes may help. It may not give you any answers, but music can cultivate gratitude and a sense of well-being.

6. Reach Out to Others

Volunteering and giving back is love put into action, benefiting both giver and recipient. Your body, mind, and spirit are good when you help those in need. You can put your troubles behind you and be grateful for those singular moments where you experience the joy of giving.

There are countless ways that you can help your community and beyond. Consider volunteering in your local soup kitchen or being an afterschool tutor. Help with charitable programs in your community and your place of worship.

The gratitude blesses you from those whom you serve. However, you don’t do it for the thanks but because it’s the right thing to do. Whatever you can do to bring joy and make someone’s life a little better is worth it.

7. Be Grateful for the Challenge

Of course, you don’t wish for adversity, but these trials can strengthen you. How else would you realize your capabilities unless they were tested? Try to think of these difficult times as lessons to learn for the future.

It’s usually easier said than done, and you often don’t have gratitude until after. For example, you may feel extreme pressure from a project on the job. However, your hard work gives you more experience and skills to help you with larger projects.

8. Practice Meditation

Practicing mindfulness can make you more open to possible solutions to your adversity. All you need is a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and you can learn to appreciate and be grateful for your blessings. It can be in a room or a small space in your home or office. Just 15 minutes a day of mindful breathing and collecting your thoughts can make a big difference.

9. Learn to Forgive

While not all of your problems are your fault, some of them may be. Could a current battle stem from past grudges and bitterness? If so, you’ll continue to struggle until you release these negative feelings.

Most people say they “can’t” forgive when they mean they “won’t” ignore. Until you learn to forgive, the person or situation that hurt you still has power over you. The process of forgiving breaks that authority, and you’re free to go forward.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and has nothing to do with excusing or forgetting. You choose to release the bitterness and all the problems it causes you physically, mentally, and spiritually. You’re grateful that old grudges no longer block your path to well-being, joy, and abundance.

10. Be Responsible for Your Joy

People and material things can bring you temporary happiness, but only you can give yourself joy. Unlike the fleeting emotion of happiness, joy is a choice that’s not dependent on your circumstances.

It’s not that you’re oblivious and sees everything through rose-tinted glasses. You realize evil in the world and goodness doesn’t always triumph. Also, you’re mature enough to know that you’re not going to be happy all the time, nor should you be.

When you take responsibility for your joy, you can see beyond the problems and pain. You allow yourself to feel each emotion with compassion. Your happiness keeps you moving even when you’re devastated and don’t know how you can go on.

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Final Thoughts on Gratitude and Difficult Situations

There’s no going around that you’ll have sorrow and pain in this life, but you must still be grateful. However, you can have peace in knowing that your blessings can be your saving grace. When you understand that everything that comes to your life will eventually pass, your gratitude will give you strength and encourage you to keep going.