“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” -Melody Beattie
Gratitude is like the North Star to happiness. If you want to be happy, you have to be grateful. It is one of the most valuable tools we have, and when practiced regularly, will train your brain to see the good, realize how lucky you are, and (for the most part) stop zooming in on everything that’s not exactly as we want it to be.
Gratitude allows us to just relax and enjoy the present moment exactly as it is, without needing anything to change. Gratitude is contentedness.
If you aren’t satisfied with what is, you are essentially cock-blocking good feelings, because you’re training your brain to focus on what’s wrong. There’s nothing wrong with seeking change, or improvement, or even venting, but your well being would sincerely appreciate you start a gratitude journal, or at least consider the concept on a daily basis.
Harvard University published this article looking at the positive effects gratitude has on people’s productivity, health, and happiness levels. One study found gratitude not only helped people feel happier, but it resulted in fewer doctors visits and more motivation to exercise.
When we feel good from appreciating what is, what we have, who we are, the people and beauty and magnificence around us, we attract more to be grateful for, because when we are on that frequency, it opens us up to receive and seek more of the things we want.
When you learn to be happy with what is, you learn to be happy more often, and train your brain to reach for things to be grateful for, therefor feeling better more of the time. This creates a ricochet effect in your life, improving your relationships, home life, self-esteem, health, career, and overall sense of well-being and contentment.
It also helps to take stock, to really appreciate what we have, and how really, a blissful moment doesn’t require that much if we can stop and pay attention: The perfect cup of coffee while still snuggled up in bed, a gorgeous sunset enjoyed with someone you love, a hot shower to thaw the winter chill, an amazing home cooked meal.
Its easy to get stuck in the habit of always focusing on our problems, and miss out on these simple, but blissful moments that make up our lives. Bliss is often just a headspace, and you can enter it often if you’d like.
A beach vacation, a killer outfit, falling in love, those things are wonderful, too, but true gratitude for everything in our lives gives us the freedom to enjoy the moment instead of always waiting for more, and putting our happiness in some potential future fulfillment. For exmaple, “I’ll be happy when I go on vacation,” etc. There’s no reason to postpone your joy and gratitude.
Of course it’s ok to want more, it’s lovely, it’s human, but when the wanting overshadows the having, we can create our own scarcity and sadness.
I implore you to make a gratitude list every day, ideally in the morning to get the ball rolling on feeling good. You can make it in your head, you can share it with your boyfriend, you can text it to your best friend, you can record it on your phone, you can write it on a Post-it note at work, or below your grocery list, but watch how your life and your mood changes as you make gratitude a priority. When you make your lists, really sit with the feeling, be present, and let it sink in. Allow yourself to feel the emotion of gratitude.
Try to get specific, too, and go beyond “My job, my house, my partner.” While it’s wonderful to be grateful for those things, and they are part of my lists often, the more specific you can get, the better you will feel, and the stronger your mind will become at finding the good in all situations.
Having gratitude is like looking at a coral reef from the beach, and then looking at it while snorkeling. If you never snorkel, it’s pretty, it can be nice, kind of blurry, though, and you wouldn’t want to walk out there without shoes because you could get cut. Once you put on the gear and see below the surface, though, you realize how vivid it is; teeming with life, fish and anemones in every color, the sun creating rainbows shooting beneath the surface, fish glittering by like show girls, and sea flowers blooming in your favorite color.
Today, I am so grateful for:
Dreaming of moving to the ocean and making it happen
Coffee in bed snuggled up to my cats
Hiking 5 miles of Coastline, including parts I’ve never seen before
The most outrageously delicious No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter cookie as a trail snack
Mushroom Mac n’ Cheese in the oven
Finishing the Harry Potter movie series tonight
Planning what houseplants to fill the window that is currently inhabited by my Christmas tree
This $5 Clearance Target dress that doubles as a super comfy nightgown, winterized with a big sweater and thigh- high socks
Shikai Gardenia body lotion
What are you grateful for?