Sometimes it’s the little things. Sometimes it’s the big things. We’re told not to sweat the small stuff, and look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. So where do you find yourself? How can you be grateful for the mundane details of everyday living as well as the grand sweeps of life that rush through you day by day? According to Dr. Laura Markham, gratitude – and having a practice of gratitude (or thankfulness) can actually have us feel happier.
With that in mind, let’s start with the small stuff.
1. The toilet roll is on the right way. Or maybe it was on the wrong way, and you fixed it. Either way, it looks great now.
2. The stove top is clean, or perhaps not as dirty as last week. At least it’s sanitary enough to cook off of.
3. You just finished doing laundry, or maybe the first load is finally out of the hamper and in the machine.
4. You are going to slide into clean sheets tonight, feel the smooth fabric embrace you for a night of good sleep.
5. There’s one bag of your favorite tea left when you thought the box was empty. You are drinking it now.
6. Your baby is asleep. For now. Take a deep breath. Savor the moments in between parenting when you get to remember yourself.
7. You were sick, but now you feel the bloom of good health after having been sick. You’re not coughing up your lungs. You might not need to buy stock in Kleenex after all.
8. That movie someone recommended is actually good. Really good. You might watch it again.
9. You heard an old song you once loved and remembered how it made you feel. Maybe you listen to it again on YouTube.
10. The Internet crapped out, so you go to bed early which is what you really wanted to and would have done if you weren’t so addicted to that TV show.
What are some of the little things you are thankful for?
The big stuff:
People in your life. Who in your life are you thankful for? Perhaps it’s family who live close (or thankfully far away), a dear friend or two, your boss, or co-worker.
The little people in your life. Your son just imitated a t-Rex doing the moonwalk. Your daughter told you she loves you. Your neighbor’s kids are theirs. You get to go home without them and enjoy the quietude of your home.
Religion. You feel held and nurtured by your church, synagogue, spiritual group, or perhaps your own beliefs, whatever they may be.
Health. Your body is pretty healthy. You don’t wake up in pain. You know, after trial and error, what you need to do to take care of it.
Food. From morning to night, you are able to put food on the table. Your choices of food aren’t that limited; in fact, you have access to amazing food and will make some of it this Thanksgiving.
Education. In some countries, the literacy rates and women/girl’s access to education is very limited. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read or write. We are fortunate that we have established schools, classes in our towns and cities, online classes, a variety of classes. What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s time to learn something new.
Texas Christian University
7. Nature. From the lakes to the mountains, parks to playgrounds, so much is at your fingertips. Even the “big” parks like Big Bend and Big Thicket are worth a visit and incredible.
8. Clean water. 780 Million people lack access to clean water. You don’t. It’s readily available as you turn on the tap, the shower, water your plants. You don’t have to walk four hours to get it. It is truly something to be thankful for.
9. Shelter. Whether it’s a roof over your head or an actual house to call your own, you likely have a place to keep the elements away and snuggle down at night.
10. Your life. You are here. Now. You didn’t die at birth or with some infectious disease when you were young. You are reading this post. Maybe you survived some horrible childhood trauma or abusive relationship, but you’ve made it through. Take a deep breath. What will you do with the rest of your day?
What are the big things you are thankful for in your life?
Dr. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks! How The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier says adopting an attitude of gratitude or thankfulness can improve emotional and physical help. It can help you create stronger relationships and communities. After all, Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Look around you. What are you thankful for? Who can you talk to? Where will you go? Watch the world buck and spin around you, rife with possibility. Then, take it by the horns and climb on.