Snoopy thinking he has a pretty good life.
Essays,  General Thoughts

A Lesson in Gratitude

There’s always something to be grateful for, even in the darkest of times. One of my goals for 2024 (and beyond) is to maintain an attitude of gratitude no matter what life throws at me.

Life’s thrown a lot at me lately, especially with property insurance woes, which I will write about as soon as the situation is resolved. What’s kept me sane is my therapist’s advice to focus on gratitude to drown out the bad thoughts.

Sometimes it feels easier to complain

In the daily grind, it’s easy to focus on the negative. Maybe you overslept, the kids are cranky, or your dog puked on the rug. There’s always something.

I had four weeks of somethings recently: I found out my homeowner’s insurance was non-renewed, my washer died, the dryer died, and my car tire was damaged beyond repair.

Spinning things around to the positive can be difficult, but it’s helpful. Oversleeping often means you felt comfortable and safe enough to sleep.

Cranky kids are still beautiful blessings (repeat this over and over again, as many times as necessary when days are tough.) Sometimes, being grateful for the kids in your life means showing them more love when they’re having trouble regulating their emotions.

Try hugging cranky kids and smelling their hair when you want to pinch their little heads off and see if your perspective changes. Note: This does not apply when your adorable toddler opens their diaper and smears the contents in their hair. Just put the child straight into the tub and do the hugging later.

As for the dog, rugs can be cleaned. It’s unpleasant, but think of all the good moments you have with your pup. Cleaning up after your pet is a small price to pay for the unconditional love they give.


Photo of two dogs
Peanut and Roscoe

As for my issues, my insurance problem is in progress thanks to help from our mortgage holder. I purchased new appliances using my Lowe’s credit card with a no-interest payment plan since we didn’t have enough money to pay cash. My car has new tires now that are safer for my family, and we have a plan to pay off the credit card.

The health benefits of positive thinking

Therapists and doctors tout the benefits of positive thinking for mental and physical health. Focusing on things you’re thankful for can help stop an anxiety spiral or lessen the symptoms of depression. It can’t hurt to try, even if you have to list just one or two things at first.

The list might start small, with things like:

  • I’m grateful I woke up this morning.
  • I’m grateful I have a home.
  • I’m grateful I have a family.
  • I’m grateful for my friends.
  • I’m grateful to have a job.
  • I’m grateful I have food.
  • I’m grateful for my pets.

After getting started, I’ve found it easier to add to the list. Before long, you might find that your grateful list outweighs some of the bad things happening in your life. A positive attitude can make you feel better, and it’s easier to take care of your mind and body when you feel better.

Being grateful is a state of mind

It takes time to turn off negative thinking. I’ve been known to hold myself to impossible standards of perfection, which set me up for failure in the past. I’m not saying to get rid of goals for yourself. Just be kind to yourself first and work on turning off the inner critic who is far more critical of you than anyone else will be (most of the time).

Think about what you think or say to yourself when you look in the mirror. Would you tell your best friend those things? Would you call out your friend’s flabby abdomen or acne scars? No? Then don’t berate yourself for those things.

Instead, look in the mirror and be thankful for your body and what it allows you to do. Then, work on changing it if you wish to for health or personal reasons, but do it kindly. If you’re capable of being kind to others (and everyone is capable), then you can be kind to yourself.

What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for all of you, dear readers. What are you most grateful for? Let me know in the comments or send me a message. I love hearing from readers.

Thanks for reading,

-Brandi Easterling Collins


  • Sarah Dale

    Love this and so thankful for the reminder! Especially during times of high stress, being grateful or focusing on the good can be hard. I’ll tuck this away for the bad days.

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