Nov

26

By megfiddler

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Daily Gratitude

We live in a world that often feels full of negativity and the “sky is falling” warnings. The news reflects this 24/7 with stories of murder, robbery and religious fanatics perpetrating unimaginable acts. Our own politicians constantly use fear rhetoric to influence public opinion. Our entertainment, such as music, movies and video games often reflect despair, anger and violence. It often feels like there is no escape. It is easy to see only the negative in the world at large and unfortunately in our smaller personal worlds as well.

Thanksgiving is the holiday we reflect on all we have to be grateful for. The list usually includes; family, friends, home, job and hopefully good health. We quickly express our gratitude at the holiday table with a word or two, while we eye the turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie. We remember to include the cooks at the table who provided the feast.

This of course is all very nice, but what if each of us took just a few minutes every day to find one or more things that happened to us that day to be grateful for? Would the world seem less negative? Would we be less negative? Would we feel a bit lighter?

I often encourage clients, especially those that seem to be experiencing an especially difficult time in their life, to keep a gratitude journal or notebook by their bed. At the end of each day write down at least one thing, several things would be even better, that happened that day for which they can be grateful. It doesn’t have to be something big like winning the lottery, although that would certainly warrant some major gratitude, but it can be, and in fact usually is, something simple like you hit all green lights on your way to work, which was especially good because you overslept. Maybe your spouse saved you the last piece of that dark chocolate cake you have been thinking about all day, or your teenager didn’t argue with you about anything. It is amazing how many things you can find in your day to day world that offer opportunities for gratitude.

Alright, you now have your daily gratitude list, let’s expand it a bit and include a list of things that you did or said during your day to make life a bit easier or happier for someone else. How did you lift someone else up? Remember these don’t have to be big things. Maybe you tossed your elderly neighbors newspaper onto their porch so they wouldn’t have to walk down the driveway in the rain. Maybe you told an employee they did a good job. Maybe you told the sacker at the grocery store they did a good job. Maybe you saved your spouse the last piece of the dark chocolate.
cake. Maybe you just smiled at people whose paths you crossed. Not only is it a nice feeling to reflect on how you might have been a bright spot in someone’s world, but you might find you look for ways to daily bring a little happy to someone else.

Gratitude is expansive. The more you are grateful, the more you will find in your life to be grateful for.

What did I find to be grateful for this Thanksgiving eve? There wasn’t a line at the grocery store when I checked out, now that is like winning the lottery.