It might seem strange to think of gratefulness as a choice, but it really is. It's about more than just saying thanks when someone gives you a present or does you a favour or pays you a compliment, it's a state of mind and it's fundamental to our happiness.
In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
So what does that mean? Well, to me it means being grateful for both the good and the supposed 'bad' things in life. If we look hard enough even the outwardly more negative parts of our lives (especially for those of us living in relative privilege in comparison to the other 90% of the world) have something to teach us and that, in itself, is a reason to be grateful.
Here are some examples of what I'm banging on about:
Instead of saying "I hate getting up early for work," try "I'm grateful that I have a job to go to that helps me pay for the things in life I enjoy."
Instead of "It's raining and cold outside, yuk!" try "I'm grateful that I have a warm and dry home to watch the rain from."
Instead of "I can't be arsed to wash all these dishes," try "I'm grateful to have shared a meal with my family/partner/friend."
Instead of a glass half-empty view, try to be grateful that you have a glass.
But changing your outlook on the flip of a dime isn't easy nor is it sustainable. I'm not expecting everyone to go out there and suddenly only see rainbows and unicorns (although how awesome would that be?! Unicorns, guys!). Anyway...
So how do we live a more grateful and therefore happier life? Well, my groundbreaking (insert eye roll) suggestion is to start every day writing down one thing we're grateful for, just one thing. How easy is that?! Then, over time, that one thing might become two and then three and so on, until we train our minds to focus on being thankful, to choose to be grateful.
This is mine for today:
"I'm grateful for George the Dog because although he wakes me up early, even at the weekend, he's always happy to see me and he gives the best cuddles."
I have a feeling George may feature in quite a few of my reasons to be thankful!
How about you? What are you grateful for today?
All opinions are my own and this blog is intended for motivational and informational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional before starting a training or nutrition program.