Before you read this blog, please allow me to add a disclaimer. I'm going to talk about gratitude, a subject that has been talked about so much that, in many cases, it is approached in general terms. That’s not where I intend to go with it. Gratitude is too important and too unique to generalize or tell someone what he or she should be thankful for. Instead, I would like to approach the topic from the perspective of awareness and the wide-ranging benefit.
It’s a fact that gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation—whatever you choose to call it—is one of the best ways to connect to love of self, to love of others and love of life.
Like most of us, I am grateful for many things in my life; things like health, nature, family and friendship. Yet these are broad things to be grateful for. I have found in my own life, as well as working with patients, that the things we take for granted are often the things we forget to be grateful for. These things may seem too small and we overlook their importance. However, if we were to stop and think about them, we might realize how grateful we are that they exist. This is the gratitude I practice every evening. What is it in my day-to-day life that I am truly grateful for? Is it stopping to accept a flower from a young girl with a big smile or a delicious desert I shared with friends...the list can be endless.
I often think about a woman I worked with who was extremely poor. Materially, she had nothing, yet her gratitude journal was amazing, always filled with the things she appreciated. A red bird that repeatedly came to her window, the touch of her husband’s hands on her shoulder, the smell of brewing coffee in her small kitchen—the little things in life.
I highly recommend practicing daily gratitude for things, people or actions that may seem small. Experience the positive shift in your perspective, let it bring you out of a negative headspace and feel how gratitude makes your life more full, more meaningful, and more connected.
So I ask you, “What are you grateful for today?”