I've observed that people with a strong sense of gratitude, love and appreciation don't necessarily have more than others; they simply recognize and see more beauty in their lives.
Haven't you noticed that people who count their blessings are generally happier and healthier than those who don't? If you ever feel as if anything in your life isn't "enough", try practicing an attitude of thankfulness. You might realize how good you have it after all.
Ann Voskamp got me started on this journey but it truly has taken on a life of itself.
It's not always easy. It has taken work at times but the fruit from this practice is immediate and continues to multiply with every new thing I find to be thankful for. I've unearthed a dance take shape each day in this search towards a contented heart...
It's hard to cultivate a sense of gratitude when you're angry, frustrated, or anxious. If these are issues that you struggle with, it's important to resolve them, as they're formidable barriers to thankfulness.
Live in the Moment
If you're too busy dwelling on the past or thinking about the future, you won't be able to fully notice how fantastic things are right now.
Plus, thinking about the past and future opens the door to
comparison, which is the only way you can perceive something as not good enough.
What you have now is all that exists, and comparing that to something that doesn't exist anymore (or yet) is an easy way to foster dissatisfaction and torture yourself.
Like the old saying goes "Past is History, Future is a Mystery and Today is Gift and hence it is called the Present". Enjoy today, this moment and don't postpone your enjoyment.
Start with your senses
The most basic pleasures in life are usually accessible to us all the time, but they slip out of our consciousness because we get so used to them. Learn to notice the little things, and deliberately appreciate them.
- *Look around. Notice beautiful shapes, colors, and details. Notice things you normally take for granted, like sunlight reflecting off someones hair. Think of all the little things you'd miss if you were blind. It's often the most minute joys that are missed the most.
- *Pause and Smell the roses. And the food. And the air. Recognize the smells that make you feel good: a freshly cut lawn, the air right after it rains, a fresh pot of coffee.
- *Savor your food. Eat slowly. Don't just gobble and chug. Identify flavors. Appreciate how they intermingle. Take notes from wine enthusiasts; they know how to enjoy the subtlest of flavors.
- *Appreciate the sense of touch. How do leaves, blankets, lotions feel against your skin? How many times during the day do people touch you affectionately, and you barely notice?Listen to more than music.
- *Listen when you think it's quiet, and you'll discover it's not really all that quiet. You might hear the wind, leaves rustling, kids laughing.
Things like laughter, affection, and playfulness are fleeting. Once a relationship has degraded so that those things don't spontaneously occur anymore, it's very hard to get them back. You might know that from experience. So treat those moments with care (especially with kids, who are at the peak of lightheartedness). Don't be the person who takes life too seriously, who doesn't have time to have fun, or who has no sense of humor.
Keep a gratitude journal Or blog...
Challenge yourself to write down five new things every day that you're grateful for. It'll be easy in the beginning, but soon you'll discover that you have to increase your awareness to keep on.
~ A week of pondering of a great sacrifice made for mankind
~ Injuries that don't turn out to be life threatening
~ Prayer time and a passover meal with a group of sweet people I barely know
~ The bad news of a loved one needing surgery only to find that we will have the best surgeon possible AND that we serve Jehova Rophi a God who heals.
~ Filling a room with notes and words that breathe life into my soul. Singing with friends and gathering with friends of old and family on a Great Easter day.
~ Pulling into my driveway only to find it full of carefully placed folding chairs in the the one ray of sun Oregon had to offer.
~ Unexpected family waiting eat, fellowship, Nerf wars and Easter egg hunts
~ A Friday night with a much missed friend