Gratitude is to be thankful, to be appreciative. It is to acknowledge the value of things and their presence in your life. Usually this sentiment is emphasized during a time like Thanksgiving, where we gather with our families and reflect on our lives, relationships and recent successes. In my own family, before we eat our Thanksgiving meal, we all go around the table and say one thing we are thankful for. It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. Something I’ve realized, though, is that I can do this everyday — we can do this everyday. Why should we wait until the holiday season to be thankful?
The truth is, we don’t have to and we shouldn’t. It sounds cliché, but every day there are things to be thankful for. It is up to you to choose to recognize them or not. That choice, for many, can be life-changing.
If you’re on social media like me, you’ve probably heard of the “romanticizing your life” trend. Romanticizing your life, I have found, means appreciating everything. It means looking at the birds chirping and the neighbor’s dog wagging its tail. It means searching for the good things throughout your day, whatever that may be. The key is to make a conscious choice, to deliberately look for things to be appreciative of.
I read somewhere that the key to being happy is to notice the small things. I started to do exactly that. I remember one day during quarantine, I was walking my dog around the neighborhood and some crows flew overhead. They were black against the pink sky cast by the sunset. From that moment forward, especially during the isolation of quarantine, I made a concentrated effort to notice things, both big and small. I made a conscious effort to “romanticize my life,” to notice.
Over time, this has made a huge impact on my life. It is true, I have felt a lot happier and a lot more grounded. Gratitude, it seems, goes hand-in-hand with mindfulness. By practicing gratitude, you are being present. You are focusing on the things at hand, specifically the good things. It adds happiness to your life.
That is not to say that you have to approach everything with gratitude. Bad things still happen, and you are still allowed to feel all that comes with those experiences. My point is that if you find yourself stuck in a rut or in the mundane, this could be a great help. Even if you’re not feeling that way, it can still add so much joy to your life.
You can keep a mental track or keep a journal. You can share those little moments of gratitude with yourself and the people you love. Slowly, but surely, your life will be transformed right in front of you.
If Thanksgiving is any indicator, your life can be filled with joy and gratitude everyday. It takes a good conscious effort, but it’s so worth it. So let’s not leave gratitude for Thanksgiving. You deserve to notice the world and appreciate it everyday, for the betterment of yourself and others.