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10 Simple Things You Can Be Grateful forEven When Times are Tough

By Henrik Edberg

Updated September 18, 2020

(slightly excerpted for length)


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Some days are just great. Things go as planned or even better and you bounce from meetings to tasks to your private life and you feel wonderful on the inside.

Then there are other days. Days when you do not feel much motivated at all. When your best laid plans go out the window before the day has barely begun. When something important unexpectedly goes wrong and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. Or when you feel sorry for yourself and honestly just want to go back to bed and to sleep again.


Maybe the simplest and certainly one of the most effective ways to turn such a day, week or month around into something more positive and better is in my experience to turn your focus to gratitude. Because even if things look tough today or for the next 3 or 6 months I can always find something or several things to feel very grateful for about my life.

So I’d like to share a small list of 10 simple, fundamental things that I feel grateful for. I usually only reflect on one or a few of these things when I need to but I thought a list like this one could be helpful both for you and for me. Maybe not every item on this list works in your life, then take what works from here and create and add to put together your own list.


1. A roof over my head and a warm home.


I live in Sweden, a country where the winters are cold and snowy and the fall and often spring can be quite rainy. So I often return to this one. Few things feel better than to reflect upon having warm home and a roof over my head when it is cold and windy outside and I can hear the rain beating hard on my window.


2. Plenty of drinkable water.


I love water and drink plenty of it every day. It is certainly something I take for granted from time to time. But it is not a given. 780 million people lack access to safe drinking water according to water.org.


3. I don’t have to go hungry.


Plus, most of things I cook and/or eat are quite tasty and healthy. And sometimes they are simply wonderful. So I have much to be grateful for when it comes to food.


4. I can enjoy the small and free pleasures of life.


A sunrise.

A relaxing walk in the woods.

A cool swim in the ocean.

A crisp Autumn day when the trees are filled with leaves of vibrant and spectacular colors.

The sun warming my face after many days of the sky being filled with dreary, gray clouds.


5. Access to the internet.


When I was really young back in the 80’s and 90’s and you wanted to learn about something then you had to ask someone who may have had spotty knowledge.


Or you had to visit the local library and maybe there was a book or magazine about it. Things are so different now and even though it is just a part of everyday life, it is still amazing. I can learn about pretty much anything online. I can add new skills and habits to make my life happier and more awesome with the help of what other people share online. And I can share what I've learned via this blog I once started on whim many years ago. Plus, there is the opportunity to connect with and get to know people from all around the world.


6. My friends and family.


For the love, support, kindness and all the fun that they offer and I get to offer them.


7. My health.


I do not have the indestructible body of Superman. But if I treat it well and get plenty of sleep, work out and eat healthy then it works really wonderfully well almost all the time. Sure, I get sick sometimes. But overall I have very, very much to be thankful for that I often take for granted about my body and how it helps me to do everything – see, listen, walk, write, hug, kiss, think and experience my world – every day.


8. The kindness of people I have never met before.


I truly appreciate the simple kindness in my daily life when people let me skip ahead of them in the checkout line in the store when I only have a few items. When they stay for a few seconds and hold open the door for me too. Or they let me into their lane when I drive.


9. The setbacks that have formed me and made me stronger.


I have been really ill a few times in my life and these experiences have made me stronger mentally and given me the gift of being very appreciative of modern medicine and of my own body and taking good care of it.


10. I am alive.


Like everyone else, I have been in situations where an accident and being in the wrong place for just a few seconds could have meant I would not have been here anymore. If I had been born in another time or in another place then there is a big chance that I would not have been here to experience my 33rd birthday. But I am here now. I have this moment and day and hopefully many days still to experience and live my life. It is an amazing thing.


What do you feel grateful for even when you might be going through a tough day or time?


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