I am overly passionate about this topic and I hope you will be too after reading this post. I truly believe that the secret to happiness is having the ability to be grateful. You can have gratitude towards any aspect of life especially the little things that we take for granted. For example, it’s always important that you be grateful for your health or even your ability to walk. These are definitely taken for granted every single day since they become habits or are just not on our minds that often. A great start to having an attitude of gratitude is to think about what you have in life that others around the world may not have. Listed below are some behaviors that will help you maintain your attitude of gratitude.
If you’re like me and enjoy making lists, get ready to start a new one! Lists of gratitude can be simple and refreshing. Consider having a whole journal dedicated to lists of gratitude that you can visit every day. Start with making a list every night that contains everything you were grateful for that day. The beauty about gratitude lists is that there is no limit to their length. You can list 5 things or maybe even 20! Here’s an example of a gratitude list from of typical day of mine:
I am grateful for
The list above is very broad, but it still lists what I am most grateful for that day. Normally, we tend to have broad thoughts when it comes to gratitude. It’s a great practice, however, to begin thinking outside the box and come up with really specific lists. Here’s the same list from before but with more detail:
I am grateful for
my phone call with mom,
my safety in my apartment,
my ability to learn and attend classes,
my ability to drive and pay for gas,
the laughs I share with my best friends.
A more specific list requires harder thinking, for sure, but it’s worth it. You look back on your day and really think about what made it great. Even if it wasn’t a great day, consider being grateful for the lessons you learned or experiencing the bad to be more thankful for the good.
Don’t Let Negative Emotions Take Over
We all get angry or sad and sometimes that’s all we want to feel especially on bad days or if things aren’t going to plan. These poor emotions do not welcome gratitude which can affect your goal towards happiness and understanding. If you really have to be angry or sad in the moment, give yourself a few minutes to calm down and feel the emotion. After those few minutes, understand that life is a lot more than whatever you may be angry or sad about. Think of what makes you happy right now and create a mental list of gratitude.
Also, think about the situation that is causing you to have the negative emotions. Is it worth being upset over? Is it something that you have control of? Ask yourself these questions to better understand your emotions and how they can be controlled in the future. Additional questions can be, “what am I learning from this? How can this be something that I am grateful for?” These may be harder to answer, but I believe that even in bad there is good. Taking the time to find the good in every situation will be worth it at the end of the day and make you feel calmer and happier.
Gratitude is a simple idea but requires dedication for it to become a lifestyle. Keep it in the back of your mind during your daily activities and when you’re ready to make that list at the end of the day. Gratitude helps one be more aware of life’s small and big moments and everything in between. It helps to understand life in a more positive way and connect us to people or situations that may be powerful in the long run.