When we are grateful, we have made a choice for positivity. In fact, feeling grateful increases our happiness by 25 percent as discovered by Robert Emmons, PhD, a scientific expert on gratitude. Yet, for many of us, gratitude doesn’t come easy. We may forget about it or not feel so grateful when we are going through tough times like a job or relationship loss. But it’s during these times of hurt that gratitude can help change how we see things. We may see or eventually see, by looking on the brighter side, that in our loss, we can now find a career or person more suited for us.
In essence, the practice of gratitude helps change our perspective from what we lack to all that we have. And the expression of our gratitude will brighten someone’s day.
These things to be grateful for below may be little to some people and big (health for example) to others. Raising our awareness of their value in our lives can help us start to notice all the good that surrounds us.
1. Routine – We can go for years without any unwelcome change. Then, in an instant, life changes dramatically. A loved one passes away, a job is lost or a health issue arises. It’s moments like this when we long for our routine back because of the comfort and normalcy it brings. No matter how mundane we may think our routine is, knowing it can go away quickly helps us to appreciate it more.
2. Health – “Health is not valued until sickness comes,” said Historian Thomas Fuller. How true! Just to wake up in the morning feeling good, without any sickness or pain in our bodies is a tremendous gift. The moment we don’t feel well all we want is to get better again.
3. The outdoors – Research has shown that enjoying nature can help relieve stress and increase mental and physical health. This is why so many people enjoy gardening, hiking, golf, biking, fishing, and walking through the woods. Each week spend some time outdoors, away from all electronics, and see how good it feels.
4. An engaging book – To immerse ourselves in a thrilling murder mystery, riveting romance novel, or inspiring biography is to escape the world. Reading not only increases our knowledge and improves memory but also relaxes us as we focus on the story, melting our worries and anxieties away.
5. Pets – Pets bring so much love and joy to our lives. Research has shown that the simple act of petting your cat or dog can reduce blood pressure and give us a sense of well-being. A pet can be therapeutic, especially if you live alone. You can talk to him or her, receive and give affection. They also help us get exercise by walking them.
6. Chocolate – One of life’s most delicious and decadent foods is chocolate. Of course, not everyone likes it but for those of us who do, it’s heavenly. Author Doreen Pendgracs loves chocolate so much so that she travels around the world in search of the best chocolate. If you want to gain an even greater appreciation of chocolate, visit her blog called Chocolatour.net.
7. A hot cup of coffee or tea – A steamy hot cup of robust coffee in the morning is how many of us happily start our day. It’s something to look forward to and can help to wake us up. For tea lovers, there is nothing like an aromatic herbal tea to calm and soothe us in the afternoon or evening.
8. Potential – With each new day, we have opportunities—the opportunity to be kinder, to pursue a creative endeavor, to quit a bad habit―the possibilities are endless. Pursuing an opportunity helps fulfill our potential and better ourselves. We are fortunate that we have this ability as human beings because it makes our lives so rich.
9. Clean water – The Water Project reports that 783 million (1 in 9) people do not have access to clean water. This statistic is staggering, and it sheds light on the extreme value of safe water to drink. Think of the many ways we use water like to wash our clothes, take a warm shower, and quench our thirst. Water is life-giving and a precious commodity.
10. Home – Where we live is our sanctuary, a place where we enjoy alone time or time with family and friends. It’s our resting place after a long day at work and shelter from storms. Thinking about the devastating effects of hurricanes, fires and earthquakes that wipe out entire homes and all its contents is unimaginable. Yet, it happens. Love the home you have without wanting more because it is a huge blessing.
11. Love – The love and support of our family and friends makes us feel valued and special. We can easily take this love for granted because of life’s obligations and stresses. Next time you see a loved one, express your gratitude for all he or she has done for you. You’ll feel great and the receiver of your gratitude will too.
12. The moments of our lives – Think of how many good moments you had just today. Maybe you received an unexpected kiss from your spouse or child or had a great laugh. An old friend might have called you, you saw a great movie, ate a delicious meal, or accomplished a goal. Cherish the small and big moments because they make up this one beautiful, precious gift―the gift of life.
What little and big thing(s) in this list are you most grateful for in life? Or, please tell us something you are grateful for not on this list. We’d love to hear from you by commenting below!
Doreen Pendgracs says
I love this post, Stacey. I am so very grateful for the simple things in life — like having a hot shower! There is nothing that gives me pleasure in the morning like having a long hot shower. 🙂
But you are so right about chocolate. Eating pure dark chocolate releases feel good drugs like serotonin and dopamine in our bodies. How great is that? There is no other power food that fuels our body in that pure, natural way!