Four Ways to be More Grateful
You can always find something to be grateful for. The smallest thing gives you the opportunity—the smell of freshly baked bread, the softness of your mom’s hands, summer freckles. As does the biggest thing. Like the sky. How blue it gets or the fact that the clouds that float across it will never look the same again. It’s a new painting every day, every moment. And if you can’t think of anything else, then let the fact that you are alive, that you are aware fill you with wonder…
1. Exploit every opportunity to be grateful.
Are you eating a chocolate chip cookie? Choose to be grateful for the chocolate chips. Do they seem too small or insignificant to appreciate? They really aren’t. Lots of people would get annoyed if the chocolate chips turned out to be raisins. And that annoyance wouldn’t be considered strange because society finds grumpiness normal. Let’s turn that around and make gratitude the new normal!
2. Lose something and find it again.
You know that feeling when you think you’ve lost your favourite jacket, but then the next day you realise it was in your backpack all along? It’s the best feeling ever! You’ve never loved your jacket as much as you do in that moment. That’s gratitude. And you don’t have to lose anything to tap into the feeling. You can just close your eyes and imagine not having the thing you chose for the exercise, open your eyes again and find it instantly. This is just a trick you are playing on yourself, but if you can go directly to the feeling, even better! There are so many things most of us take for granted every day and that we would be absolutely devastated to lose—the ability to run, ten fingers, sight, hearing, a roof over our heads, enough food to eat… I am not saying this to scare you, but rather to make you realise how much you already HAVE.
3. Create a gratitude ritual.
Decide that every morning, before you even open your eyes, you will think of five things to be grateful for. Or get yourself a fresh new notebook, pick a quiet spot and spend fifteen minutes a day filling up a page with things that happened that day that you are grateful for. Before every meal, appreciate the food that is available to you, savour it as you chew. Pick someone every day to show your appreciation for. Plant a gratitude flower and think only grateful thoughts as you water it. The possibilities are endless.
4. Don’t wait. Be grateful.
How much time do you think we spend waiting? Waiting for the bus. Waiting in line. Waiting for dinner. Waiting for class to start. I’m sure there’s some statistic out there about it, like the average person spends 10 and 3/4 years waiting or something. Vow not to be one of those people. From now on you are thankful for every person that is late, because they are giving you precious time to practice your gratitude muscles. Make it automatic. Don’t even think about it. When you fill up little moments in your day with good feelings, they flow into each other and pretty soon your whole day is one giant gratitude fest. Eventually, you will have chalked up at least 10 and 3/4 years of thankfulness.
I have to warn you though. Once you start looking for excuses to feel grateful, you will feel so good and you will start to see so many more opportunities that you won’t be able to stop.