“You can choose to become the source of attitudes such as gratitude and responsibility (rather than waiting for the events of life to inspire you to adopt them).” lGay Hendricks, A Year of Living Consciously
When all is well, it’s pretty easy to be in a space of thanksgiving. I mean, it’s a natural response to experiencing the highs of life. But what about when it seems like life isn’t handing out any lemons for you to make lemonade with?
If you’re like me, you may find that you become super distressed and anxious when life doesn’t go exactly as planned. I found that being thankful actually helps me navigate the ebbs and flows of life.
A little over a year ago, I started my practice of gratitude. It’s pretty simple: Every day, I list 5 things I’m thankful for.
Thinking of a 5-item list of what I’m thankful for is pretty easy to do when I’ve had an awesome day. On not so great days, I get really creative about what I have to be thankful for. I come up with things like my eyesight, my ability to blink, and the fact that my brain is functioning well enough to even write my list.
In a short amount of time, I’ve experienced these benefits of practicing gratitude:
- I notice the little things.
This is the biggest change I’ve seen in my life. For example, have you ever noticed how beautiful a tree is? I think trees are breathtaking. I’ve been walking past trees all my life, but it took me about 22 years to actually see them. Before I started being intentional about writing down what I was thankful for, I was so consumed with my “stuff” that I failed to see the beauty of life’s simplicity. When I got creative about all the abundance that exists in my life, I saw things in a new way. For you, it might not be trees. I challenge you to start this practice and re-experience what’s already around you!
- I express my appreciation to others.
It can be pretty hard for me to tell others how much they mean to me. That’s a pretty vulnerable act for a hardcore scorpio like me (LOL). However, as I began to take note of what I love about my life, it became easier for me to communicate that same gratitude to the important people in my life. And as you may know, expressing your appreciation for others can help strengthen and deepen your relationships.
- I pay less attention to my problems.
I won’t lie to you and say that I never get bogged down about life. I will say that consistently training myself to switch over to an attitude of gratitude has helped me to focus on the good (and there’s a lot of good). What we focus on grows, right?
Today’s Challenge: Write down 5 things you’re grateful for.
Try it again tomorrow!