This post is the seventh part of a series on Being Happy. Links to the other posts in this series are at the end of the post.
Gratitude. Dictionary.com defines it as “the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” At the low time in my life that we’ve been talking about I could have easily listed only a few items that I was grateful or thankful for. Things like my husband, my family, and a nice home. I’m still thankful for those things. What I tended to overlook was the little things, the everyday occurrences. Things like the mischievous smile in a nine year old or a bright sunny day. I might quickly notice the joy I felt in those briefly and then quickly move on.
Gratitude or being thankful is the opposite of complaining, something I was doing a whole heck of a lot of in this period of time. So, it’s completely natural that I wouldn’t be finding a whole lot of things to be grateful for.
So, when you’re in that place I was in, how do you start to find more things to be grateful for? I have two suggestions:
- Gratitude Journal – This is simply a notebook that each night you write things you’re grateful for in. Each night set aside about five minutes before you go to bed to list at least three things that you’re thankful for. They can be big or small things, no one sees the journal but you!
- Top Three Things List – This is a list that you update throughout your day. It can be in a notebook or on a piece of paper, but it should be on something that you can carry around with you. At the beginning of your day write down the top three things that have happened to so far you today. Throughout your day update it as good things happen and cross off the item it is replacing. When you start you might forget to update your list. Schedule a couple times into your day to update this list. At the end of the day your list might look like this:
Warm bed Yummy oatmeal Hot shower
- Sunny day
- Nice conversation with co-worker
Difficult problem at work quickly and nicely resolved
- Enjoyed the drive home in the sun with great music playing
Try one, even for a week. Both ideas will help you to look for the small joys or happy parts of your day.