Gratitude for the simple things
"I have a lot to be thankful for. I am healthy, happy and I am loved."
- Reba McEntire
If you had to pick three things you are thankful for right now, what are they? You may even have a different answer tomorrow or next week. I imagine many people would possibly include their health, their loved ones, their career, or perhaps they are just thankful to be alive. Maybe you are thinking of something more specific. It really doesn't matter. The idea of this exercise is to simply express gratitude. It's one of the easiest ways to elevate our mood instantly. Not convinced? Try it!
Think about those three things you are thankful for. Why those three things? What else? What makes your life easier? What brings you joy? What inspires or motivates you? Once you start creating a list in your head, you may realize there is so much to be grateful for in life. When we can be more thankful for even the basics like food, clothing and shelter, it makes it more difficult to complain about some of the other areas of our life where we might not be satisfied with where we are.
If you have been participating in this exercise and answering the questions I asked, has it done anything to positively affect your mood? Science tells us that expressing gratitude can help improve our physical and phycological health, while increasing our self-esteem. Not surprisingly, people who express more gratitude throughout the day get better sleep too. All of these amazing benefits are available to us by simply being thankful. It can help us gain a better perspective and improve our outlook by focusing on the good going on in our lives.
Even on the darker days we experience, like the death of a loved one, or other unfortunate news, we can find something to be thankful for. We can be grateful for the time we were able to spend with that loved one. We can be grateful for our own health, understanding how fragile life can be. That doesn't mean we cannot be sad and grieve our loss. We are simply looking at it from another perspective as well. We can improve our mood and live a better quality of life when we are able to express more gratitude, especially for the simple things.
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