There are moments in life when you are overcome with a sense of gratefulness - where you are totally consumed by a warm feeling of joy and thankfulness. It might be while watching a sunrise, or while holding a precious child. Maybe it’s when a family member or friend does something selfless or thoughtful for you. Or when you get a job that you’ve been dreaming about, or get engaged, or adopt a new puppy… No matter what causes it, there is no denying: gratitude is a good feeling.
But, for most people, that feeling of gratitude is short lived and only comes around every once in awhile when something special or exciting or extraordinary occurs. Think about how wonderful it would be to feel that sense of gratitude all of the time. Luckily, gratitude - that feeling of immense thankfulness and an awareness of the blessings in life - is something that can be cultivated through practice and through focus. It is a habit…a state of mind. You can set the intention to feel gratitude throughout each day. And the cool thing is, when you look for things to be grateful for in your life, you will find them…and you will realize that there are WAY more things in your life for you to be grateful for than you ever could have imagined.
Cultivating a habit of gratefulness will lead to you viewing all of the beautiful - and even the not so beautiful at first glance - things in your life as gifts, and you will then see just how much you have been given in life. You will see that when you focus on being grateful for things (no matter how small) in every day, and on looking for the good in each situation, you will be much happier. Happiness is a choice: you can either choose to be happy, or to not be happy. In fact, it’s the simplest of choices. If you choose to be happy, then be happy! Gratitude can help to get you there. Even in the most unfortunate of circumstances, there are ways to look at a situation in which you can find things to be grateful for. And focusing on gratitude and the blessings and lessons in each moment of your day will contribute to your increased happiness.
Some great ways to cultivate a habit of gratitude include meditation, starting a gratitude journal, and doing a little check whenever you think of it by taking a moment to breathe deeply, close your eyes, and think of three things that you are grateful for. How can you not be happy when thinking about life’s blessings? If you are in a situation that feels scary, overwhelming, frustrating, depressing, infuriating, or hopeless…try to think of how the situation may in some way be a blessing. Maybe there is a lesson that can be learned? Maybe there is a chance to start new or to learn something about yourself? Maybe there is a chance to grow stronger? Maybe there is an opportunity to try something new or meet new people? Maybe there is a chance to reflect on something beautiful? I promise that if you LOOK for things to be thankful for…you can find them. And you will be happier, less stressed, and healthier for it.