Gratitude is a fascinating emotion. Even though most parents teach their kids from an early age to be thankful, the feeling is elusive to children and adults alike, because life is full of distractions and desires that make it difficult to stop and appreciate all that is good. Paradoxically, the more people have to be thankful for, the harder it can be to truly feel grateful.
Interestingly, tragedy often provokes gratitude. Pay attention to the news next time there is a natural disaster. Reporters will interview victims who have just lost their homes and all of their worldly possessions. In this moment of vulnerability, with sadness and uncertainty on full display, you will witness people finding comfort in gratitude by shifting their attention from what has been lost to what remains, namely the family members and close friends who make life meaningful.
Dealing with death can also generate gratitude. When …