Teens: Gratitude Can Turn Your Life Around

Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.  – Melody Beattie


Melody Beattie is the author of many self-help books, mostly those that focus on co-dependency. She has helped millions of teens and adults change unhealthy relationships for the better by writing about relationship patterns that tend to show up in addiction. It’s common for families with addiction to develop certain unhealthy relationship patterns and those patterns can stay with someone, affecting other relationships they get into.


Her quote on gratitude expresses just how much a change of thought can affect our day. Whether you’re having trouble at home, in school, or trying to get into a good college, focusing on the positive, including feeling gratitude, can help shift your mood.


Most people today, including teens, have some form of negative thinking. It’s seems to be common to have some form of self-criticism or self-judgment. However, these types of thoughts, along with other forms of negative thinking can create depression, anxiety, and loss of happiness in life. It can affect relationships and your academic performance. Negativity can be difficult to change, but once it’s transformed to focusing on the positive, it can turn your life around.


Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say you’re on your way home from school. You’re tired and you feel like you didn’t do well on an exam. You’re in a fight with a friend and when you get home you have to do an errand with your mother, and you’re already not looking forward to that.


You can see that the mind wants to so easily jump on the negative bandwagon and revel in all those things that aren’t going well.  But what happens if you shift your mind to gratitude? As Melody Beattie suggests it can turn chaos into order, confusion into clarity, and creates a vision for tomorrow.


It might be hard at first to switch your thoughts to gratitude and positivity, but let’s see what happens. You might begin by feeling grateful for having a school to go to – one where you can learn interesting things, where you can expand your mind, and think about the skills that you might offer to the world one day. You might actually feel grateful for the class in which you just took the exam. Although you’re worried about how you did, that class is challenging you to study more and it’s forcing you to expand your intellectual capacity. And you’re grateful for that too. You might not be so thrilled about having to do this errand with your mother, but you might also feel grateful for this time with her. If you’re planning on going away for college, you’re likely not going to see her as often. And as far as your friend, you appreciate and feel grateful for her friendship. Although she is upsetting you, deep down you know she’s there for you.


Although it’s hard, shifting your attention from negative to positive, from what you’re upset about to what you’re grateful for, can really create a shift in how you’re experiencing your life!