“Give thanks for each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some days are just awesome! Everything goes as intended – you jump from work meetings to responsibilities to private life, and you feel completely wonderful on the inside. And then there are those days when you don’t feel at all inspired. Your best laid plans fly out the window before your day has even begun. Something important goes unexpectedly wrong and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. Or you feel sorry for yourself and just want to go back to bed, throw the covers over your head, and stay that way all day.
In my experience, one of the most simplest and effective ways to turn this type of day, week, or month around into something more positive and healthier is to turn our focus to gratitude about our lives. There are small, essential things to be grateful for. I usually reflect on one or more of these things when I need to lift myself up.
Do you have a roof over your head? A warm home? Food on the table? I’ve noticed that this year, there seems to be so many more homeless people on the streets, without jobs, without enough food and clothing, and without shelter.
Are you able to enjoy small and free pleasures? Take notice of a sunrise or a sunset. Watch the sun coloring the clouds above with the pinkish hue. As the sun ascends, watch the sky become a deep neon blue as the light reaches further out. Watch the pink become pale yellow, mixed with the blue. Or take a relaxing walk in the woods. If it is autumn, you may see the trees filled with leaves of vibrant and spectacular colors. If it is winter time, you may see snow covered trees. Watch how the blankets of white snow coat the trees and the paths. Watch how the ice makes beautiful designs around the tree branches and bushes. Listen to the silence. Have a snowball fight with a friend or a family member. Or hug some trees. Trees have powerful healing properties. Listen to the birds sing, the squirrels playing, and the deer rustling in the leaves. Sit by the waterside, and listen to the frogs croak, watch the fish swim. Feel the sun warming your face.
Another source of gratitude could be the Internet. Think about how different it was in the 80’s and 90’s, when you wanted to learn about something and weren’t sure how. Think about how our lives have progressed, and how amazing the new technology is. You can learn pretty much anything online. Add new skills and habits to your life. We all have such a wonderful opportunity to connect with people all over the world.
Be grateful for friends and family. For the love, support, and kindness and all of the fun that they offer. And be grateful for your health. Our bodies are not indestructible. Treat yourself well, get plenty of sleep, work out and eat healthy. See, listen, walk, write, hug, kiss, think, and experience your world, every day.
Pay it forward. Allow somebody to skip ahead of you in line at the checkout line in the store. Hold the door open for someone. Allow somebody into your lane, as you are driving. Put a smile on somebody’s face by showing them kindness.
Understand that setbacks form us all, and have the ability to make us stronger. Appreciate the fact that you are alive. It is an amazing thing.
“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in.” ~ Kristin Armstrong