The Awareness Alphabet: Gratitude

This is an ongoing series that offers 26 ways for you to be aware of the things you need to do in order to make change. This is the seventh in the series. Catch up on the previous posts. 

Let’s be honest. We’re all spoiled brats. We live in a first world country where we pretty much have anything at our fingertips. We want for almost nothing. No matter what most of our incomes, we all have more money than most of the world. We have it fucking easy. We don’t walk miles to get fresh water. We don’t worry about rampant disease or unsanitary conditions. Most of us have access to more food than people elsewhere could dream of. We live in lovely homes with walls, central heating, plumbing, A/C and electricity. We literally carry the world in our pockets.

And yet, how many of us are grateful for what we have? I’d bet today you complained about some first-world problem without giving it a second thought. A co-worker asked how you were and you probably said ‘tired.’ But you slept in a bed with pillows and blankets, in a heated room. Likely with someone you love.

Maybe you griped about your commute, but you did that in a car you own or lease that has all the conveniences you could want. Perhaps you talked about eating too much over the weekend, but you're fortunate enough to be able to eat more than your fill. Or you talked about being sore from a workout, but you forget that you pay for that luxury and you have the chance to move your body for pleasure and not for labor.

I’ve been really focused on appreciating my life and my fortune this year. As I’ve written about before, I’m loving my 5 Minute Journal and absolutely credit it with making me appreciate the little things. And because of that positivity, I already know this will be my most lucrative year yet, work-wise, and perhaps otherwise. Time will tell. But even the small gesture of writing down every day what I'm grateful for and how I could have made the day better has had an exponential effect on my mental well being. Couple that with 10 minutes of meditation before I get out of bed each day, and I have never felt better about the projection of my life. I’m calmer, I’m more cerebral and just more patient. And that's saying a lot!

Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t complain or I don’t get upset or frustrated about certain things, but constantly needing more or complaining about what you have (or don’t have) only creates a spiral of negativity and that will only bring more negativity into your life — giving you more to complain about. Is everything in my life wonderful? No. But by focusing on what I do have, it opens the door for even more goodness to enter. You don’t want to mess with the universe. It gives you back what you put out. So put out gratitude and get more things to be grateful for. It’s that simple. Your mind is so powerful. Allow it to help you shape what you appreciate. Allow your mind to make you grateful. You have that power. Only you. No one else can bring you happiness and contentment. 

HOMEWORK: For one week, when you wake up, write down 2-3 things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as a hot cup of coffee, 7 hours of sleep or waking up to a brand new day. Then at night write down 2-3 good things that happened that day. Again, it could be as simple as making it to the gym, making dinner or crushing a presentation at work. Don’t overthink it. I guarantee by the end of the week you’ll feel more appreciative for what you have and you might even want to continue doing this ritual.

So tell me, what are you grateful for today?