November was the #30daysofthanks. Lots of people were posting on the various social media outlets what they were thankful for each day. I too, took part and posted on FB. I was going to repost the individual items here en masse but that’s when i noticed the trends.
I was frequently thankful for the people in my life – either the support they gave, the laughter shared, or the lessons learned from or because of them. I was also often thankful to the Universe for the circumstances in which I found myself or the little gifts it placed on my path. Then there were the random things that i’d classify as being thankful for “life” – giggles, tears, color, specific events, etc.
There is a ton of research and writing on gratitude and how it helps individuals to be more happy. Here’s some (mostly unscientific) to start with:
- Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy – Zen Habits
- The Benefits of Gratitude – Psychology Today
- Gratitude & Well-Being – Emmons Lab, UCDavis
- 9 Ways to Rediscover Happiness (See #2) – Pick the Brain
- Why Being Generally Grateful is a Bad Idea- Pick the Brain (added Dec 30)
It’s easy to let the days bog you down and slip away, only seeing what’s left not done, the goals unreached, the life you don’t yet have. But that’s a sure fire way to be miserable.
Making sure you take the time to note of the things that you are grateful for will remind you that even though things may not be the way you want them to be, you have it pretty good. There’s always something to be thankful for.
A friend was recently going through a rough time and seemed to have nothing to be thankful for. I reminded him that he was employed, healthy, had a fantastic son, and had friends that cared about him. When you boil life down to the things you are grateful for, you realize life is pretty damn awesome.
As we head into another year, where we set more goals for ourselves and make resolutions for ourselves, I’d ask you to make time for gratitude in your daily routine. And write it down – being able to look at your items later will help you notice patterns, or remember that those days that you thought were horrible, actually had some pretty awesome bright spots too. Perspective is a great thing.
So with that, I am grateful to you, my dear readers, and the fact that I have the ability to share my thoughts with the world – even just my small corner of it.