I had never really considered this notion until a friend asked me a very profound question. “If you woke up tomorrow and only had the things that you were thankful for today, what would you have?” Well… what would you have?
If your answer is “not much” or you’re still searching the recesses of your memory to come up with a time yesterday when you were counting your blessings, all is not lost.
You can start living a life of gratitude today and experiencing benefits like these:
You worry less about the little things
When you’re busy focusing on everything that is right with your world versus everything that is wrong, you tend to worry less about the minor things that aren’t going your way at the moment.
They become smaller in size and consume minimal amounts of your time.
You experience stronger and closer relationships
Living a life of gratitude makes you closer to the people in your life.
You thank your lucky stars that your friends and family are there to support you as you navigate through life’s twists and turns. And, when you tell them often how blessed you feel to have them in your world, how can they not help but feel closer to you and like you have a stronger bond?
Everyone loves to be appreciated.
You take nothing for granted
Have you ever had a day when you felt down and out because of all the hardships and struggles you faced only to come across someone that had it worse?
Maybe you had a cold or sinus infection that was wearing you down but then you crossed paths with someone who was paralyzed or had lost a limb in a tragic accident.
Suddenly you realize that you don’t have it so bad and start to appreciate the very thing that initially had you feeling sad and blue.
You’re happier overall
Because of all these reasons (and more), living a life in which you regularly count your blessings makes you happier overall. Besides, how can you not be excited about life when you spend a majority of your day and night realizing that you have so many things in it that make you happy?
So, how do you start to live a life of gratitude and reap the many great benefits it has to offer? Here are some simple exercises you can do today that will make you feel better almost instantly:
- Count your blessings before you even get out of bed. After your alarm goes off, lie back (being careful to not fall back asleep) and start to list all the wonderful things in your life that you have the joy of experiencing. Consider the people, situations and objects that make you smile and increase the richness in your world. This is a great way to start your day and puts you on the right foot mentally.
- When faced with a difficult situation, look for the positives. This can be difficult to do, especially if you’re a person who falls into the ‘poor me’ pity trap often. However, if you look at how a situation may benefit you versus how it is going to create struggles for you, you’ll be much better off. Even if you’re engaged in an issue that challenges you, you’ll likely grow from it and become a stronger, better person in the end. Remember this when you’re enduring trying times.
- Celebrate your hardships. Try to change the way you view the very things that are discouraging or frustrating you. Instead of looking at them as negative and exhausting, find the good in them. For example, if you’re unhappy with your struggles at work, have they helped you learn new ways to do tasks or solve problems? What have you learned from them that may help you later in life? Celebrate how they’ve promoted you and made you a better person.
- Verbalize your appreciation. Most people speak up only when they’re dissatisfied with life versus when they are extremely happy and appreciative. However, you don’t have to live that way. Let others know when you are thankful to have them as a friend or relative. Remember how good it feels to hear when you enrich someone else’s life and bring that same feeling to those that you care the most. Leave no question in their mind as to how much you love having them in your life.
- Help others live a life of gratitude. If you see someone struggling, teach them how to recognize the blessings in their life. Open their eyes that they don’t have to live day to day contemplating only the things that they perceive as negative. The more you help others in this area, the more it helps you to continue to remember that life is good despite some of the things that happen that aren’t always easy to understand.
- Keep your thoughts positive and focused on your blessings. Your mind has a lot of control over how you view things. So, the more positive you are, the easier the process of living in gratitude becomes. It’s normal to have down days where you feel a little kicked around, but always remember that happiness and thankfulness are a choice. It’s all about your perception of where you are at the moment. Therefore, if you want to feel better, all you have to do is change your thought process and things will improve.
Although it is easy to live a life in which you spend more time looking at the tragedies and heartaches in this world, this way of living will definitely take its toll on you.
Let go of all that is wrong with your life and look at everything that is right. Experience these benefits today so that your tomorrow is happier and full of joy.