Choosing Gratitude Over Grumpiness

“We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands. For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

From Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer by Brother David Steindl-Rast


It was just one of those days. Nothing in particular had made me upset that particular morning, but by the time I got to work, I was the grumpiest mcgrumperson. But I don’t want to be grumpy! I whined to myself. And then I realized that I didn’t have to be.

So often, negative moods are fueled from the inside. On a grumpy day, I tend to hold onto negative thoughts and roll them around in my mind, just getting more and more annoyed or frustrated about small things. I’ve realized that holding onto negativity is the same as holding something in my hand – I can let go. It’s an action that I am responsible for, and an action that I can therefore change.

So on this day, I decided to replace the grumpy thoughts in my head with gratitude. Each time a frown formed on my face, I immediately wrote down the first thing that popped into my head that I am grateful for. It’s by no means an exhaustive list of the things I love, but it’s a good sampling of things that make me silently whisper “thank you” to the universe.

  1. Break-apart-and-bake cookie dough
  2. Drinking milk from tea cups with my daughters
  3. Draft beer
  4. Michael
  5. Climbing exhausted into a soft bed with cold sheets
  6. The ability to pay all my bills on time for the first time, ever
  7. Courage
  8. My mustard yellow Newton Supply Co purse
  9. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  10. Really good coffee
  11. Really Good Emails
  12. My crocheted Pegasus
  13. Mediocre coffee when good coffee is not available
  14. Socks from Madewell
  15. The ability to text my mom random emojis so she knows I think about her
  16. Gifs of kittens
  17. That the father of my children is a good man and a loving dad
  18. The pocket app, which has encouraged me to read more
  19. Donuts

Many of the items on this list came to me as I started to feel grumpy about their opposite. For example: feeling tired from waking up early = gratitude for the wonderful feeling of getting into bed at the end of a long day.

I encourage you to try this exercise the next time you’re feeling frustrated. What benefit is this experience going to provide you? What things in your life are super awesome? How can you choose gratitude in this moment?

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson

One comment on “Choosing Gratitude Over Grumpiness

  1. Today I’m remembering that no matter how tired I am, and no matter how frustrated, things could be so much worse. <3

    I love your list!

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