Being Grateful

What are you thankful for?

Seriously. Write down at least 5 things that you are grateful for right now.

Now, add another 5 things to that list.

If you’re having difficulty writing your list, it’s time to take inventory of what’s happening in your life, and how you think and react to those things. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, goes through challenging times. For some, every day is a struggle – a struggle to pay the bills, a struggle to raise a child, a struggle to keep a relationship, a struggle to fight depression…. The list goes on and on. While the experiences are very real, how we look at them and what we learn from them are entirely up to us.

With that in mind, if you want to minimize the struggles you are experiencing, try being grateful for them. For instance, maybe you are “struggling to get ahead” and are upset because by the time you pay your bills, there isn’t as much money left over as you would like. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have (enough money) focus on how fortunate you are to have money to pay bills. Be thankful you have a job. Be thankful you have a TV and cable so you can watch your favorite show. Be thankful you have hot water, heat, AC, and a place to live.

Perhaps you are struggling with a relationship and it’s making you feel like a failure, or inadequate, or unappreciated. What would happen if you stopped focusing on how bad you feel, and instead were grateful for the lessons the relationship is teaching you? Maybe you are learning to be more resilient, or to communicate more (or less), or perhaps you are being forced to stand up for yourself after years of backing down. There are many great lessons brought about by relationships, we just need to acknowledge that’s what they are, and be thankful for them.

Gratitude changes everything. When you start appreciating the little things, you’ll find there are more little things to appreciate. And, really, life is just a lot of little things over time.

For many people, feeling grateful every day is very difficult at first. Our busy lives make us think we don’t have time to stop and be thankful for what we have. What’s interesting is that when we do make time to be thankful, life isn’t really quite as busy as we thought. It’s more fulfilling, and more rewarding.

The happiest, wealthiest, most fulfilled people I know are the ones who appreciate what they have in life, rather than what don’t have.

If you want some proof of how gratitude can change things for the better, start everyday by making a list of what you’re grateful for. Do this for 30 days and let me know what you experience.

John Chappelear
John is an award-winning author, consultant and speaker, with more than 30 years experience as an executive and entrepreneur. He is recognized internationally as an expert in individual and organizational wellness. His book, The Daily Six, has helped individuals and organizations across the world become more positive and productive. He is the founder of Changing the Focus, LLC which creates and delivers programs that builds positive, powerful, and balanced individuals, and more productive, creative, and profitable organizations.