“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
― G.K. Chesterton
This time last year I decided to keep a journal of gratitude; something where I could note down all the things in my life that I am thankful for.
I decided to do this as I was focusing a lot on what I did not have, getting worked up over my future and neglecting the things in my life that were actually great. I realised that I was being selfish and taking things for granted and it really affected my mood.
I’ve read online that: “Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who do cultivate it. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.”
So it was that I made the resolution to keep a gratitude journal. And as with all resolutions, I started off well, but my will wavered and the realities of life got in the way; the journal was pretty much forgotten.
In the lead up to Christmas and New Year, however, feeling rather reflective of the year that has just past, I picked up my journal of gratitude once again, and made a few more entries. It is in no way extensive, but as I write of my gratitude for one thing, something else pops into my head. As with anything, the more you do it, the more you become better at it. The more I write about the things I am thankful for, the easier it becomes to think of other things. I’ve tapped into that consciousness of gratefulness and it is becoming something that can be easily accessed and not so easily forgotten.
Not easily forgotten as I become more and more aware of the selfishness of others, and the way they take things for granted. I suppose you could say that I was one of them, but in my bid to be less whiny about what I do not have, I’m noticing others who could benefit from doing the same.
The other day I overheard some girls I work with berating the £25 Christmas bonus they had received; saying that they’d already spent it, and it didn’t get them much. I was quite pleased at the possibility of a bonus. The boss, after all, didn’t have to pay out bonuses, and when you think of the number of people who work there, it would’ve been a big chunk of her money.
Some people just take things for granted. They don’t realise what they have or how lucky they can be. They complain about things, never thinking of the possibility that the person they are complaining to has less than them, or has bigger struggles.
These kinds of people, well everyone really, should cultivate a grateful and positive attitude; I feel it makes you a better person, and what’s the point of living if you’re not going to strive to be a better you?
Through writing about some of the things that I am thankful for, I have felt my mood lift. I feel happier, and more optimistic, with loads of energy. Seeing the good in your life can only have a positive effect; it puts things into perspective and makes you feel calmer about life in general.
I’ve found that being grateful has made me happier and calmer. I would definitely suggest you cultivate gratefulness too. Don’t take the blessings and good in your life for granted.