12 Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Feel Ungrateful

Last Update on July 5, 2024 : Published on July 5, 2024
Gratitude When You Feel Ungrateful

Gratitude is a word that brings images of flower bouquets, a sunflower meadow, and a couple of notebooks to my mind. For me, gratitude embodies warmth, contentment, and peace. Even though I express my gratitude for the day to the universe every night, there’s always a whisper in the back of my mind that keeps saying, “You’re not feeling grateful, though”.

It’s something I’m sure you’ve experienced too; the feeling when you feel ungrateful. It happens when life becomes too hectic and when anxieties begin to surface. During hard times, wanting to feel grateful can become almost unbearable.

Let me be real with you; gratitude is a powerful tool, a mental muscle that you can work on improving with practice. Feeling grateful isn’t about saying thanks; it’s about changing your perspective, appreciating little things in life, and enjoying just being alive.

And yet, times come when we struggle to feel thankful. Regardless of your reasons for feeling ungrateful, I’ve listed some incredible ways you can practice gratitude when you feel ungrateful. These practices will help you learn how to be grateful in hard times.

So, take a breath, and let go of the idea that gratitude is all rainbows and butterflies. Here’s your mini-guide to be grateful when you don’t feel grateful.

What to Do When You Feel Ungrateful?

1. Start With Small Moments

You don’t have to rush in with gratitude practice all at once. When you feel ungrateful, it’s good to start with small moments of thanks. Your first cup of coffee, the softness of your blanket, the warmth of a sunset – all these places are good places to start feeling grateful if you don’t feel grateful.

2. Get a Gratitude Journal

While it’s not a regular practice in my house, I try to keep a journal where I write about my feelings for the day. And what do you know? It helps, so try it! Write down what you feel thankful for – no matter how small it is – just keep the practice alive. Even when your days are hard, write something you are grateful for. This practice can eventually rewire your brain to seek positive aspects of your day.

3. Learn to Be in the Moment

In the busyness of our days, we forget to live in the moment and appreciate the beauty around us. When you learn to focus on the now, you let go of the negativity in your life. Try being mindful and pay attention to your surroundings, your breathing, or what’s happening around you. It can be a good way to appreciate the little things – one of the aspects of gratitude.

4. Say Thanks to Someone

I do this every night. Although, instead of a person, I offer my thanks to the universe. Taking some time to express gratitude to someone can increase the feeling of gratefulness. You can do it like I do – saying gratitude as a nightly prayer – or you can text or call your loved one a note of thanks. Acknowledging gratefulness can make others feel appreciated, but also make you feel positive all over.

5. Use Prompts When Words Fail

If words fail you but you still want to feel grateful, use gratitude prompts. Questions and prompts like “List three things that made you smile” or “Name someone who helped you recently” can help you think back on good things and feel grateful for what you have now.

6. Look Back on Hard Times

Okay, so this tip might look like I’m asking you to ruminate, but that’s not it. I want you to think back on the hard times and look at yourself now. See how those moments have helped you grow into the person you are today. This reflection can help you get the spark of gratitude you seem to have lost.

7. Meditate on Your Feelings

Many people underestimate the power of meditation, but let me tell you that meditation works! If you feel ungrateful and want to get that spark back, then try some guided gratitude meditations. These types of meditation can help you center your mind on appreciating little things in life, people, and experiences you seem to have forgotten.

8. Try Some Fun Gratitude Exercises

I use gratitude as a prayer, but you can try other fun gratitude exercises to feel grateful when you feel ungrateful. Here’s one exercise you can try; Every night, think of three good things that happened to you in the day and why they happened. This way, your brain can be trained to focus on positive things, thus giving you a grateful mindset.

9. Be Kind to Someone

Helping others can help you – yes, even when you’re not feeling grateful. Try to volunteer your time to a cause close to your heart, help a random person you see who needs help, or help your neighbor with their chores. These acts of kindness can create a sense of community and remind you what an amazing impact you can make in others’ lives.

10. Set a Reminder

We’re all so attached to our phones that we’ve forgotten how to live without them. So, why not use our phones to our advantage? Use reminders – the digital kind – to prompt you to be grateful. These small reminders throughout the day can help you focus on positive things and thoughts all through your day.

11. Visualize Your Best Vision

I’ve read various success stories where people have boasted about visualization as their go-to activity. I thought of giving it a try and so far it seems to be working. What I want you to do is to spend some time visualizing a positive future or outcome. This can make you feel more hopeful and grateful for all the potential you’re yet to meet.

12. Try Some New Gratitude Rituals

If you’re bored of all the boring daily gratitude messages, then why not make new rituals? You can say a few grateful words before your meals, say three words of affirmations in the morning, or text a couple of your friends with messages of thanks – every day. These small rituals can make gratitude a part of your life.

Why Does Gratitude Matter?

All I hear from others is that “be grateful” and “your life will be fulfilling only if you’re thankful” but no one talks about why gratitude matters. So let me help you as I help myself. Studies show that regular gratitude can increase happiness, as it rewires our brains to focus on the positive things.

Feeling negative, day in and day out, can take a toll on our mental well-being and gratitude can come in all its superhero glory, acting as a shield against stress and anxiety by giving us all calm and content feelings. It doesn’t let us focus on what we don’t have, but on what we have – here and now.

Plus, when your mind is always running on worried thoughts, sleep becomes elusive. Feeling grateful can give you a sense of peace and allow you to sleep more easily.

And we all know how unpredictable life can be. When we’re hit with hard times, gratitude can come in and help us focus on the good and teach us how to bounce back from challenges life constantly throws at us.

Amazing, isn’t it? So, go ahead and become grateful even when you don’t feel that way.

Writer’s Thoughts…

Gratitude isn’t about ignoring the bad in life; it’s about acknowledging them while choosing to appreciate the good to counter all the negatives. Being grateful is about finding the silver lining when all you can see are dark clouds. I hope that the activities and ways I’ve listed in my article to practice gratitude when you feel ungrateful will help you develop a stronger mindset.

Trust me when I say that there will be hard times in your life and when it’s easier to ignore thankfulness, but it’s OK. With regular practice and some effort, you’ll soon have a well of gratitude that keeps you on your toes – in a good way – to bounce back from what life throws at you.

So, take deep breaths and learn to appreciate the little things in life. You might be surprised by the wealth of positivity that awaits you, just around the corner.

Poll For Readers…

What’s your favorite gratitude practice to engage in when you don’t feel grateful?

a) Taking a mindful pause

b) Writing down thoughts in a gratitude journal

c) Volunteering or acting in kind towards others

d) Others (write in comments below)

e) I don’t have a practice…yet

We would love to hear your thoughts on practicing gratitude. Show your love to us by participating in this quick poll, or write your gratitude stories at info@calmsage.com.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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