“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Brené Brown. This quote really speaks to me as we head into our country’s special day to pause and give thanks. First, it reminds me that happiness is found not only in the extraordinary moments of life, but in the everyday ordinary moments that are right in front of me. Second, it remind me that all I need to do to see these moments is to pay attention and focus on being grateful.
If you are looking for a concrete way to focus on being grateful, I recommend keeping a gratitude journal. A simple way to start is to commit to writing down at least three things you are grateful for every day. To make it both more challenging and more meaningful make a goal to not repeat anything for three weeks, meaning that you will have to come up with at least sixty-three different things for which you are grateful. The first couple of days will be fairly easy, and then as you continue you will become aware of the many things that you mighty easily take for granted in your life.
Earlier this month I decided to start such a gratitude journal. It seemed like a good way to prepare for Thanksgiving. Below you will find some of the things on my list so far.
Friends, Old and New
The ability to read
Changing leaf colors
Access to health and dental care
Snow (most of the time)
The ability to see
The ability to hear
The ability to smell
The ability to touch
The ability to taste
Forgiveness of others when I make mistakes
The ability to bounce back or make a new start
My road bike
Teachers, Mentors, and Coaches
My fishing rod
Challenges that make me stronger
Sunsets and sunrises
Pets that I have had
My coffee mug collection
My father’s Lionel train from the 1920’s
Washing machine and dryer
The kindness of strangers
Mistakes and what I learn from them
My physical therapist
And all of you who read this column each week!
If you were to try this, what would be on your list? There’s only one way to find out.
Whether or not you make a gratitude list, I hope you will pause and take some time this week to give thanks for the people and moments in your life that are both ordinary and extraordinary.
This column will return in two weeks, after a break for Thanksgiving.