The One Secret to Living a Better Life
There are a plethora of articles, self-help books, and videos on the internet that can help you to live a better life. But before you dive into a seemingly endless pool of resources, consider this: gratitude.
Sure, you may have heard it before, perhaps in the overused quote from Dr Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Although it might seem cheesy and silly, the poetic doctor has a point. At its core, gratitude is an appreciation for the things that you have, helping you to rediscover their value in your life.
There are so many magnificent things that happen to people every day, yet most people fail to see them. Whether someone gets bogged down by school, work, or the stress of making a deadline, problems will always arise. Gratitude is the practice of noticing the seemingly minuscule things in your life and taking a moment to appreciate how awesome they are.
If you're having a bad day, start small. You know that feeling you get when you're sick and you can't breathe through both nostrils? When you just can't fall asleep because you get seized with bouts of coughing fits? Do you remember the moment when you started to get better and could breathe normally again? That feeling of relief and gratitude is something that you can create every day.
Take a deep breath, filling your lungs all the way to the bottom. Notice what the air feels like. Is it cold and crisp? Warm? Does it smell like anything? Now breathe out, noticing how easily the air flows out from you body. Take a moment to appreciate that you have the faculties necessary for this exercise. Breathing may not seem like much, but your ability to smell and to breathe without interruption are things to be celebrated!
If noticing the small things isn't working for you, you can try creating a gratitude list. At the end of every day, make a list. It can be on your phone just before you set your morning alarm, in a journal you write in, or on the top of your grocery list. Write down three things that you're grateful for, or that made you smile. It could be a delicious meal that you had, a friend that you saw, or the colours in the sky that day. Write down what made you grateful, and most importantly, why you felt grateful. An easy template to follow is: I am grateful for ______ because _____.
Once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy to form a habit. You'll start to find that even on bad days when everything seems to go wrong, there's still something to be grateful for.
Having gratitude in your life helps you to see things in a new light. Every day becomes an opportunity for discovery. Living a better life doesn't mean that you have to start a new diet, buy new clothes, or start working out every day.
It starts with appreciating what you already have.