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How did you do with starting a Gratitude Journal? I’m pretty excited about mine. I chose the pretty handmade parchment journal with the yellow flower on the front. First thing this morning, I wrote a few sentences about the good things. It was enough to put a smile on my face the rest of the day.

As we dive deeper into cultivating a grateful heart, one of the suggestions is don’t avoid the negative. I know it sounds wrong – we’ve just spent time talking about how to remember all the positive, good things in our lives and to write them down, for goodness sake. And now, you want me to step into the negative?

Not step into it, exactly – just don’t avoid it.

Bad stuff happens to good people. All. The. Time. There really is no avoiding it. Life is unfair.

Dealing with the negative stuff head on and just pushing through to the other side gives you a sense of power and accomplishment. And how much sweeter are the good times when you have the tough times to compare it to?

Since it’s impossible to avoid the negative, the key is to not dwell in it. ¬†When something’s bothering you, I know getting your mind off it is not a simple task. If the urge to ruminate over a problem is more than you can stand, it’s time to change things up a bit to distract your mind. Think about something that requires concentration like ordering songs in a playlist or maybe the books on your bookshelf. Call a positive friend you know will help you snap out of it – you don’t even have to tell them what’s going on. Have a cup of tea. Reframe your situation in your mind, thinking of the positive things that could possibly come from it instead of the negative mire you are entrenched in. Even 20 seconds will do it. If the negative thoughts return, distract yourself again.

Setbacks are part of life. If you embrace them as part of your journey – you will emerge more thankful for the small things, and a heart of gratitude will follow.