With all the hubbub happening around this year’s election, I have to return to my attitude of gratitude. I’m not concerned which way you vote, though I do recommend voting your conscience. My interest is in spreading positivity as far and wide as possible. One way I’ve found that works is to stay grateful. I feel better when I’m grateful even in times of strife.
Tonight, in fact, my wife was breast feeding our 8 month old, and she said, “We’re so lucky.” I asked if she meant we were lucky for “everything” or for having Madison. She meant having our little girl. It brought to mind the state of gratitude. Gratitude has an ability to shift our perspective, it allows us to work with an inner smile. If we’re working on a problem, it may not seem as bad if you’re also grateful for the opportunity the problem provides. There is always a silver lining and finding it may hold the key to increasing your happiness.
Here are 5 simple steps to increase your happiness through gratitude:
Keep a gratitude journal. If you do this before bed, writing down what you’re grateful for will improve your sleep. You will be filling your mind with positive thoughts. I found that the more I wrote out what I was grateful for, the more I thought about it during the day. This made my days more pleasant.
Use photos and screen savers of loved ones and special moments for which you feel grateful. Images will ignite a feeling of love, joy, and gratitude. I love taking photos, mostly because I enjoy looking back at the moments that passed and reminiscing. I love looking back at Madison’s first few months, it was such a special time. My wedding day and so many other moments that fill my heart with joy. I take photos of sunrises, sunsets, vacations, and I’ve even begun to document some mundane experiences because I know I’ll look back with a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Serve those less fortunate. There are so many people in our communities who need some kind of help. From the homeless, to an elderly person crossing the street, to someone in our own family. There’s always someone who can use our help. And the giving in and of itself will help you feel better. It doesn’t take a lot to lend a helping hand, but the rewards are great.
Make the simple, special. The fresh air in the morning, a hug from your spouse, the ability to move and think. There are so many things we take for granted. It’s always nice when the simple things get a little credit for doing their job.
Say thank you more. That’s it. All you have to do to feel better is to say thank you more often. Wow, it’s as easy as that. I also like to tell people how much I appreciate what they’re doing. I do this in restaurants, grocery stores, phone calls, and whenever I think about it.
Gratitude and appreciation go hand in hand and when you express them more often you will be happier. We all have those people in our life who are frustrated, or angry, or maybe they just feel like the world owes them something. It’s really quite a shame. The brighter we can shine our own lights of gratitude, the better off we’ll all be. If you need help on your quest, I’m always here. @teddymcdonald