During a frustrating and protracted job search, it can be very difficult to maintain a positive attitude. But remembering the things in life that you’re grateful for can be the very thing that keeps you sane.
Gratitude is not just a catchphrase that new age gurus kick around to sell books. Research on gratitude has suggested that constantly reminding yourself of what you’re thankful for in life ultimately makes you feel happier. It’s one of the simplest ways to feel better, and perhaps cheaper and more powerful than any prescription.
With the season of gratitude upon us, it’s worth remembering that cultivating gratitude not only makes you happier, but also makes you a more attractive person to be with and, yes, work with. Here are some ideas on how to stay grateful during your job search.
Be Mindful of What You Already Have
Yes, being out of a job is a stressful situation and can do a number on your self-esteem. But it’s important to remember that it could always be worse.
Several studies have shown that it’s not about what you have, but how you think about what you have that makes the difference. For instance, a study by psychologist Edward Diener at the University of Illinois, found that many affluent people living in Japan reported levels of life satisfaction as low as those living in impoverished India.
Perspective goes a long way in helping to reframe a situation. Yes, maybe it’s a tough job market, but at least you’re not living in a third world nation where even the most menial jobs are all but impossible to find and your chances of moving ahead in life are nil.
If you have a roof over your head, decent clothes on your back, clean water to drink and food to eat, you’re doing well by many people’s standards, job or no job.
Celebrate Your Skills
Chances are you’ve already had access to numerous opportunities in life that others in the world (and even in your own country) could only dream of – things like a decent education, access to books and information, and a college degree.
You might also have lots of experience and skills to boast of on your resume. Or maybe you’re blessed with a particular gift or talent that makes you special. Take a moment to be thankful for the many opportunities you’ve already enjoyed in life and to honor what makes you you.
Cherish Your Loved Ones
No matter how bad things get, it feels great to know that there’s always somebody who loves you or is rooting for you. Think about why you work. Yes, you might love what you do, but none of it ultimately makes any difference unless you have someone (or ones) to share your passions, triumphs and frustrations with. If you have the support of many close friends and family, you’re a lucky person.
Appreciate Your Health
Imagine if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness (or even a debilitating one). Now think about how desperately happy you’d be if you could just go back to the life you had before the diagnosis, joblessness and all.
Every day, you hear about people suffering, either from treatable diseases in undeveloped nations or untreatable ones in our own. Good health is a gift that should never be taken for granted. Remembering that every person’s days on this Earth are numbered can help you appreciate the life you have today.
Embrace Life’s Endless Pleasures
A steaming cup of coffee between your hands on a chilly morning. The way your dog leans against you with all her weight. The anticipation of returning to a great book. Sunning your chilly body on an unusually warm winter’s day. Bicycling through a riot of red and yellow leaves on a crisp Autumn day. The enormous roundness of a young child’s eyes.
Happiness is made up of a long list of simple pleasures that are unique to every person. If you started that list and added to it every time you remembered some small thing that makes you happy, you might find that life is infinitely more positive than negative.
Just being alive is a gift. Exult in your own life and the lives of others this Thanksgiving and every other (extra)ordinary day of the year.