10 Simple Things You Can Be Grateful for Even When Times are Tough

“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.

Overcome Negative Thoughts 4

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.

10 Simple Things You Can Be Grateful for Even When Times are Tough

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 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.

10 Simple Things You Can Be Grateful for Even When Times are Tough

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.

Every day I get kind and supportive emails and messages from people all around the world that I have never met but who reads my blog or newsletters.

Their expressions of gratitude make my life happier and help me to keep moving forward when things feel tough.

And I truly appreciate the simple kindness in the rest of my daily life too 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 up the door for me too. Or let me into their lane when I drive.

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

When Life Suck 2

I have been really ill a few times in my life and these experiences has 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.

Last year was in a way the toughest one yet for my business as the number of visitors to my website via Google went down in big, big leaps month after month.

That has changed in a very positive way over these last few months but 2013 really helped me to work harder and smarter than ever.

And it has made me more appreciative than ever of the opportunity I have with what I do here.

10. I am alive.

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I have like everyone else 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 33:rd 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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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I really liked the last one: I am alive. If we could just remember this every seconf and enjoy it…

  • Sometimes it is the simple things that really count – and gratitude brings one a lot closer to happiness. Thanks Henrik

  • phil

    I always love reading your articles bcos it does make alot of sense just like this one. i like it


    Hi, I am greatful to the Almighty God for life, for my parents and their support to me, for my wife & children, for affording food and clean drinking water every day and for my job and of course to you for your educative positive posts.

  • Wolly

    I am grateful for my new house and my wonderful partner

  • Great article! Often if you think about the things you NEED you will usually realize you have a lot. You may not have everything you want, but most of the time you have all you need. Get an attitude of gratitude!


    Curtis D

  • I am grateful for the support of my wife every single day. We are going through a tough time now with house moving and difficulties at work (own the company) and she stands by helping when she can with no complaints.

  • Absolutely love this article. It’s one of those that you have to bookmark and come back to time and time again just to perk yourself up. Thanks!

  • Ritti

    Must say Great Article! Thank you so much for sharing

  • Yes , we take so many things for granted when life is going our way and even more when we are diasppointed. Taking a moment and looking at what we do have certainly puts a new perspective on how we view our predicaments. I love the first thing on your list. I always say my home is my comfort zone, my sanctuary against the world.

  • Josiah

    Thank you for this post. It is early in the morning and I am already having a rough day and I’m trying to focus on what works, so I can function.

    I have been homeless since January 1, and I am staying with people I know marginally who offered me shelter for two weeks in another city 130 miles from where I’d lived for 27 years. It’s now been two months and they are really wanting me to leave and so am I, but I have nowhere to go. I just sold one of my prized instruments and gave them $800 and used the rest to pay back bills, and now the money is almost gone and I’m struggling with how to pay for my keep when I haven’t found a full-time job yet. I’m over 50 and I escaped an abusive relationship with all my possessions after calling the police on my partner for the second time in late December. I put all my stuff in storage and am staying in the vacant apartment my friends offered.

    While I am grateful for the shelter and the blow-up mattress on the floor, the apartment is dark and freezing (Please do NOT think I’m not grateful! It’s just one of the WORST winters here in a century – constant blizzards and 8-degree temperatures! I am HAPPY to have a place to live!) To give you an idea, when I’m in the apartment I have to be fully dressed and coat and gloves and hat on. Usually during the day I leave to go to the library and research and apply for jobs, but nothing yet. When I go to sleep on this lopsided mattress, my body is leaned toward the floor and I have to sort of consciously balance, even when I’m asleep, to avoid being dumped onto the floor. It will be funny one day.

    I have been going to free spiritual gatherings around town in the evenings and they are wonderful for reducing stress and connecting with others, but I cannot expect these others to swoop down and save me. I also give service to my community, during each storm I have shoveled sidewalks, dusted off cars and I also regularly clean my place and do small favors for my hosts so I’m not just sucking off them.

    It’s a tough time, friends…just trying to make it through to the other side, where I was just a few short years ago, with a bank account, an IRA, savings so that I don’t have to go to sleep and wake up terrified and alone. PS I do not use alcohol or drugs at all – never have.

    Actually, things are MUCH better than when I was with my partner, in that house, with constant drama and abuse. My friends and family have rallied around me and expect nothing but good things, and so do I. I am healthy and full of energy and I do have some money coming in from freelance jobs where I am respected and valued. I have met some truly beautiful people in my new town, as well. And I also love the town – lots of interesting people and things to do and so on. I just need a job that pays a living wage, work my butt off for a month or so and fill the coffers, then spend the next year saving and living and doing service and…being a human being again. ;)

    I just lost my job 5 years ago, haven’t been able to get another full time one, and…I’m sad and lonely and frustrated and wish things were different.

    Thanks for listening.

  • Sina Sevaaetasi

    One aspect of my life that I am most grateful for is that my mom is still alive and well. There are so many people who have lost a parent, and I try my best to not take my mom for granted. I realize as I grow older, so does my mom. I couldn’t imagine my life without her and am extremely grateful that she is healthy for her age.