Stop And Smell The Roses - The Gift of Gratitude

Stop And Smell The Roses - The Gift of Gratitude

Gratitude for our abilities, privileges, good gestures by others, or just for everyday's little moments of joy can be a quick and effective way to lift our mood. Furthermore, if practiced regularly, gratitude may also impact our long-term perception of our own happiness. Sometimes problems with relationships, work, or finances may seem overwhelming, but even during trying times, pausing to appreciate the small pleasures around us, may make life more enjoyable and rewarding. This article focuses precisely on increasing our appreciation for those incoming small rewards as a tool to improve our well-being.

By paying attention to the present moment, we become aware of all the experiences that make us feel good during the day. These experiences are likely to be simple, so simple that the mind, which is often busy with worry and evaluation, may pass them unnoticed.

Think of the many times today when you felt good in spite of any major issues lingering in your thoughts: perhaps it was the hot shower in the cold morning, noticing the falling leaves during a walk, or spending a few minutes petting your cat. The list of enjoyable experiences within a single day may be greater than you realize, and your perception of how happy you are increases by paying more attention to, and taking into account, life's little pleasures.

I have kept a book of little moments of joy for quite some time, and I believe that this practice has helped me in several ways.

First, gratitude reminds me, not only that the glass is half full instead of half empty, but also that the glass is fuller than just half full. When all the gifts of life are accounted for, problems that seem overwhelming become less significant and less difficult to overcome.

Second, because my mind is busy appreciating the world, it's not busy thinking negatively in an unconscious and automatic way. It doesn't mean that I need to dismiss worry and negative thinking completely. It rather means that by practicing gratitude I develop more awareness of what is going on in my mind, to the point of being able to choose my thoughts rather than having all my thoughts run me.

Third, when I appreciate my life, I tend to be more generous and sharing with others.

Here is a list of some of the blessings I am counting today:

  1. A conversation over a foamy roasted latte at breakfast.
  2. The view of recently cleaned and ironed shirts in my wardrobe.
  3. The sun coming through the living-room as I check my email in the computer.
  4. Going outside and feeling that it is warm and I don't need a jacket.
  5. Listening to clients talking about their lives.
  6. The taste of the sweet potato fries.
  7. A walk in the neighborhood during sunset.
  8. Taking my shoes off when I arrive at home.
  9. Hearing my dog Joshu bark while dreaming as I relax on the couch.
  10. Writing this paper.

This is just an example of how anyone can practice gratitude by paying attention to their experiences, and find joy in everyday simple things. The number can go on and on, and to see the numbers in the list get higher and higher becomes in itself a real pleasure.

How far do you think your list of little pleasures could go?