“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.

 

Family

Friends, Old and New

Faith

A Home

Work

Food

Health

Music

Colleagues

Clean air

Clean water

Education

The ability to read

New experiences

Rain

Optimism

Changing leaf colors

Clothing

Safety

My Piano

Freedom

First Responders

Coffee

Heat

Leaf blowers

Soccer friends

Access to health and dental care

Books

Snow (most of the time)

The ability to see

Technology

The ability to hear

Full Moons

The ability to smell

Trees

The ability to touch

Gardens

Farmer’s Markets

Fresh flowers

The ability to taste

Hope

Forgiveness of others when I make mistakes

The ability to bounce back or make a new start

My guitar

My road bike

Running shoes

Veterans

Schools

Neighbors

Memories

Teachers, Mentors, and Coaches

Laugher

Improv Comedy

My fishing rod

Challenges that make me stronger

Sunsets and sunrises

Curiosity

Pets that I have had

Campfires

Fish Fries

Northern Lights

Vacations

My coffee mug collection

My father’s Lionel train from the 1920’s

Fondue

Baseball

Custard

Warm socks

Pine forests

Clear lakes

National Parks

Band-Aids

Libraries

Quiet

Cooking

Washing machine and dryer

The kindness of strangers

Mistakes and what I learn from them

My physical therapist

Love

Earbuds

Video Calls

Today

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.

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