With my birthday knocking on the door, it’s that time of the year I start overthinking my life. Let’s say this weekend I had some extra spare time (more than usual when I act social) to do this as I have been indoors with a flu. Honestly as a bad human habit, or blame it on the fever, I started thinking not at the things I have accomplished so far, but at those missing from my life first…
It took me some time to recalibrate and refocus on all the good things I have been given in my life, realize how many they are actually, be grateful for them, never again fall in the trap of taking them for granted, and welcome the future with a big smile on my face!
I read this great quote today…about Gratitude: “If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, little things, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present, which is more often than not a lot! Focusing on being grateful and saying thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress. I know many may say I am slightly unrealistic, preaching about a constant state of positive gratitude, but if you would practice gratitude, you would see I am not. Actually, to say you feel grateful is not to say that everything in your life is necessarily great. It just means you very are aware of our blessings.
Most people, including me, tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. Have you ever imagined for a second what it would be like losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your house, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort? I did today… and it was a sort of “Aha, moment” combined with “I am damn superficial! Get a grip!” 🙂 Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. I did this exercise a few times, and it just made me realize how lucky I am and really blessed.
Every each of us should start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable “deposit” saved up, being richer, slimmer, more popular, getting married, starting a family, and so on.
What I have learned is that when things don’t go my way, I believe that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. So, when I calm down, I ask myself: “What’s good about this situation?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I actually benefit from this?”. It has worked every time to put me back on track and feel comfortable with a not-so-comfortable situation.
Once you become oriented towards looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Just try to start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful. This way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming presently happier. 🙂