Here's a quick question: You've got a bad cold. Do you moan and groan about your misfortune, or do you crawl into bed, grateful to be able to pull the covers back over your head and give your body the rest it's asking for?

Probably a little of both, right?

Here's a secret: the more you're able to shift into a perspective of gratitude, the easier life becomes because you move through the stressful parts more quickly.

Let's face it, it's easy to be grateful for pay raises and rainbows and new babies. But the challenge comes when life becomes trying and the natural response is to contract and become fearful.

How can I feel gratitude when it's the last thing on my mind?

Well, if you're in a really lousy place, acknowledge that you're in a really lousy place. Say, "I'm hurting right now." And pay attention to where you feel that sensation in your body.

After you've acknowledged, "What is," take a moment and:

1. Get quiet, close your eyes and breathe deeply,
2. Imagine opening your heart,
3. Invite the frustrations to leave your body
Give them a vile color as they leave and bless them
4. Think of something or some place that makes you
5. Then, invite calm and peace and open space
6. Breathe in your favorite color
7. If you're still agitated, just listen to yourself breathe.

When you slow down and simply breathe, little miracles can and will happen. You will find yourself amazed by the fact that your heart beats of its own accord and you breathe without any direction.

Your problems won't magically disappear, but by breathing into them I suspect they'll feel less daunting. Is it possible to reframe those problems as opportunities to learn?

Here's a challenge for today: when you lay in bed tonight, before you go to sleep, review the day and think of three more things for which you are grateful. Is it the warmth of close friendships? Good health? Or a soft bed in which to sleep? Say them to yourself and notice how you feel. Repeat nightly.

I do this with my kids every night. Some nights you can hear the scraping at the bottom of the barrel as they try their hardest to eke out something positive from what they've decided was an awful day.

Think of gratitude as little sparkles that surround and infiltrate your life.

Carol Moss, LCSW, Life Coach Sign up now for FREE e-course: "21 Days to Re-Ignite Your Inner Sparkle."

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