5 Ways We Can Choose to Be More Grateful
I'm not sure how many of you are like me, but I've been doing some soul searching and have found out I still take a lot for granted. Not to say I don't appreciate what I have, but I'm sure I could be a little more thankful for all the good things I have in my life. I've been keeping a gratitude journal for a while and almost every day I write down things I'm thankful for, but still, I need to be more appreciative of the small things.
Upon realizing this, I decided to write down how I could go about embracing gratitude and thought I'd share it with you...
1. Acknowledge that being grateful is a decision
We have to choose to be grateful, there's no way around it. Being happy doesn't immediately cause gratitude to magically happen - sort of, it's the other way around - the more we're thankful for the things we have in life the happier we'll be.
So, being grateful is very much a choice we have to make for ourselves. No one can give it to us, we can't purchase it. We have to realize we're blessed with an amazing life that so many people would love to have. And as sobering as it is, I also realize there are people who didn't get to live to see today... I'm incredibly grateful I woke up this morning. Aren't you?
2. Appreciate the little things
Sometimes it's so easy to take things for granted just because they're sweet little bits of life that we've so grown accustomed to. Things like the ability to turn on a faucet and have clean water, having a warm pair of gloves to put on when we're going out into the cold... just little things that we probably don't give much thought but know that there are people out there who aren't so blessed. Remember to count all your blessings, even the very small ones.
3. Stop focusing on what you don't have
This has always been huge for me. Now, I'm not telling you to settle for what you have, shut your face and just be content, nah, not at all. What I am saying is that although it's great to strive for more don't lose sight of all that you're currently blessed with.
4. Take a good look at the world around you
This world is filled with people who are less fortunate. It's so easy to forget they exist and hyper focus on our little problems. Sometimes some of us may even think that their issues aren't our problem so why be concerned? I'm here to burst your bubble if that's what you think because it sure doesn't work that way. Everything and everyone in this world affects everything and everyone else in some way. We might not immediately realize the connection but it's there. We're all linked together, like it or not. Don't allow yourself to become self-centered and live in a vacuum. Break out of your comfort zone and walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Enrich your life by learning their stories, their struggles, their wants, needs, and how what you've been blessed with compares to what they have.
You know, it's funny how some of the most grateful folks are the ones who have the least, material wise. Ponder that for a while.
5. Imagine yourself with less
Write down some of the things you're thankful for and then imagine those things being taken away from you. Really let yourself feel the emotions of losing the things you cherish, big and small. Then allow yourself to feel the joy of each of those things being reintroduced into your life. For instance, imagine waking up one day having lost your eyesight. How difficult would it be for you to make your way around your home? Think about no longer being able to see the faces of the people you love. All those little things that are connected to your vision that you take for granted - gone. Dwell in those emotions for a while and then imagine suddenly regaining your sight. How joyful would you be to be able to see the beautiful colors of a sunset again? Or to see the beautiful, smiling eyes of your best friend?
All of these things can shift your focus from what you don't have to all the little things that add up to big things. Life doesn't have to be perfect in order for us to be grateful. It's an absolute choice.
Choose to be grateful. Our happiness depends on it.